Sunday, 30 September 2012

Finished Project & Pattern Review: Lisette Women's Bow Belt (free pattern!) & Frankenpattern Dress.

My first belt pattern review!
Pattern can be downloaded from here.

Hello beautiful people hope you are having a wonderful weekend. My weekend was fantastic, apart from Swans beating my team Hawks in the AFL Grand Final...  :( Don't worry Buddy Franklin, still love you! Isn't this the most beautiful man??!

After finishing my Minnie Mouse dress last week, which also served as a muslin, I got working on my dress for the work function that's coming up in less than two weeks. Yikes! 

All week I have been jotting down notes on what style bodice I wanted. The Brownlow and Emmy Awards were on last week which gave me a little inspiration... I toyed with the idea of making the bodice like Rebecca Twigley's dress - zipper up to hip/waist and fasten it with a button or tie at the neck. In the end I settled on a simple scooped back with full circle skirt. I like to wear a bra when I go out.

I already had fabric for the dress from last week's shopping trip at GJ Fabrics, all I needed was lining and a zipper. Friday afternoon I remembered I had red sunsilky lining, purchased during Spotlight's 30% off sale. Color blocking, yay! Midnight blue and red would be hot! 

I went home, scoffed down dinner (at 5pm... early bird!!) and started.

Initially I was going to use the New Look 6723 bodice, but because the muslin (Minnie Mouse dress) was View D and the bodice I wanted for this dress was View B, I thought it was too risky to not make another muslin since the NL size 8 is still big and the high neck bodice would probably cave in too much. Didn't have time for a muslin though so I used the V8511 bodice (which must be OOP cos I can't find it on BMV). I've used it twice and haven't had any issues with the fit, and I get compliments every time I wear the floral version.

I wanted to make a belt to go with the dress. I was thinking something easy and quick to make like a long satin tie or something like that, that could be tied up as a big bow (inspired by Cindy - Cation Designs 'Put a bow on it' post). I'm always on Twitter so of course I tweeted this thought and I got a response from Rachel of House of Pinheiro blog. This is why I love Twitter. 

Follow me on Twitter ;)

The belt pattern pattern that Rachel so kindly hooked me up with is a free pattern from Lisette, described as a little bow belt that could be used to dress up any outfit.

I checked out the PDF and it looked easy enough to tackle over the weekend, but first I needed the dress!

Finished sewing bodice shell & lining, bagged the bodice on Friday night. About 5 hours work.
Stayed up till 3am watching Homeland then woke up at 6:30am Saturday morning and cut out the full circle skirt.
Tested a store-bought belt on the dress - perfect! Red and blue = gorgeous.

I learnt how to cut a full circle skirt from Andrea Tung's blog 'Making Things' which says to measure your waist - in my case I measured the waist of the finished bodice - then divide by 3.14 then divide by 2 = radius.

FORMULA: 67cm / 3.14 / 2 = 10.66cm.

Every time I cut the skirt out with the radius given in the above calculation, the skirt waist is too big for the bodice. Is it me? Am I that shit at maths I can't even work it out on iPhone calculator??

Anyway, this time I cut it with a smaller radius - 9.5cm - just a guess, if it was too small I could always make it wider... and guess what, it fit PERFECTLY.

The length of the skirt is about 45cm.

Time to play with the belt pattern!

Looked at PDF on my iPhone, cbf hooking up the printer so I recreated the pattern.
The lines on the cutting mat are so useful!
Ta-da! Made the bow much bigger than the original pattern.
Big bow will be the 'hero' of my dress
(too much Masterchef).
Bias... omg 2 metres of fabric for a BOW?!

Left the dress to hang on my mannequin then went back GJ's to get satin for the bow. I decided on the same midnight blue as my dress and red.

If you think my dining table is messy, you should have seen my lounge room floor!
Shit everywhere! 
Hand sewing snap fasteners on to my bow belt.
Was so happy when I tried it on and it was exactly what I imagined!

  • 1m midnight blue satin (bow)
  • 1m red satin (bow and belt)
Notions: Metal snap fasteners, 1m interfacing
Time: about 4 hours (drafting pattern and constructing bow and belt)
Cost: Fabric $14; Snap fasteners $1.65, interface from stash, pattern free. Total: $16.
Techniques used: 
    • Bias cut fabric
Pattern Modification/Adjustments: 
    • Made the bow much bigger than the original pattern but still same style bow.

Very pleased with how easy and quick this bow belt was to create. Thanks Lisette and thanks Rachel for sharing!
Added one extra (female?) fastener to make belt tighter/looser :P

Still finding my feet with hand sewing things like this to fabric.

I apologise for this very text and photo heavy post! Just so much to fit in!!

Ok so now on to the dress! 

V8511 bodice with mods to back bodice piece to create scooped back.
Self drafted dull circle skirt.
Bow at the back vs bow at the front.
I think bow at the back wins... just by a little!

Red sunsilky lining and a navy grosgrain ribbon waist stay.
Pattern Review: Frankenpattern dress.

Pattern:  Vogue 8511 bodice with modification to back, self drafted full circle skirt
Size: Size 6
  • 2m midnight blue satin from GJ's
  • 1.5m red sunsilky lining
Notions: Invisible zipper 14" (dark navy), 80cm grosgrain ribbon (navy), 1 bikini hook, Gutermann thread (000, 156)
Time: about 8 hours
Cost: Fabric $14; Lining $15; Zipper $2; Grosgrain Ribbon $1.65, Bikini Hook & Pattern from stash.
Techniques used: 
·         Narrow hem on the sewing machine
·         Princess seams
·         Bagging technique to line bodice
Pattern Modification/Adjustments: 
·         Graded out to 1cm seam allowance at the waist on the side seams
·         2cm SA on back bodice when inserting zipper
·         Replaced skirt with self drafted full circle skirt 
·          Modified the back bodice to create a scoop, see pic below.

Back bodice piece from V8511.

If you have made it this far, thanks for reading!! This has to be the longest post I have done!

Next up on my sewing table is a dress for another awards night in November, a dress for my company Xmas party in December and possibly a Halloween costume, as well as finishing off projects from dressmaking class (ahem M5850 and Burda nightmare).

I have always been a 'never wear same dress twice to an event' girl, once a dress has been worn to one event, it's never touched again. I fear I am becoming that way with my handmade dresses too!!

Update: Photos of me wearing this dress at the function are blogged here.
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Sunday, 23 September 2012

Finished Project & Pattern Review: Oh New Look 6723 you're so fine!

You're so fine, you blow my mind, hey New Look!

Last week I received an invitation to my cousin's sons' 2yo & 4yo costume birthday party. Yay!

I love costume parties and I have been to enough costume parties to know that all the costumes available are basically lingerie or poorly made polyester nightmares. I'm not a fan of either so I decided to make something myself!

Ideas that I tossed around included characters with different hair to mine such as Annie, Dorothy, Barbie.. so I could wear a wig. I like wigs. Then I remembered that I am getting my hair done up the night before for the work function, so it would be a waste to not get another day out of a salon do. 

I settled on Minnie Mouse so I could wear ears with my hair and be easily identified by the kids and adults. I ordered my Minnie Mouse ears from eBay and they arrived a day later, on Saturday, which inspired to start on my costume. 

I went to Rathdowne Fabrics and bought 2m of spotty red cotton ($5.95/m) and 2m of polyester lining ($2/m). Since I would only wear the dress once or twice as a costume, there was no point shelling out for the top fabrics. While waiting patiently to get served, I went through all my patterns in my head and landed on the New Look 6723. 

New Look 6723 in cotton.
I've admired this pattern for a while now, first time I laid eyes on it was on Flickr, 11 months ago, before I got into the blog scene.

It was only recently when I revisited that photo that I realised it was Cindy of Cation Designs! My sewing hero! It was before she was blogging so click here to go to Flickr to view the pic.

The fabric that she has made the dress in is the same fabric I made the M5850 with! Uncanny! Cindy told me this and linked me to a photo on her blog for "Not Quite OWOP post" and I thought to myself  "I swear I've seen this photo before.. but where?!?"

Haven't blogged this dress yet... it's finished but I still consider it a UFO. Want to add a few more things to it...
So back to the pattern, 6723, I thought that making a costume out of it might be a good way to test the pattern and if I liked it, I could make a version from evening fabric for upcoming housing awards (yep, 3 weeks away and still no dress) and something for the work Christmas party. Best idea I ever had while queuing.

I was really excited to get started on a new sewing pattern, and excited that it was an easy pattern where I wouldn't be glued to the instructions. After struggling with Burda all these weeks, I was in need of something easy to lift my sewing spirits. One day later I ended up with this...

How cute is it!! The bodice is just gorgeous <3 You are probably thinking the skirt looks full.. I replaced the skirt with a full circle skirt so it would look more like Minnie's dress.

The bodice has princess seams so it was quick to put together - no tailors tacks! 

One odd thing about this pattern - the front bodice was not cut on the fold... not sure why... I went along with it anyway and I ended up with half dots on the centre of the bodice which bothered me. To fix this, I stitched the two front pieces on a smaller seam allowance so the dots would appear whole on the bodice. Crisis averted! 

I wasn't too lucky when it came to the back of the bodice. As you can see it's a dotty mess. 

I had to take the back seam in heaps, but even if I didn't I don't think the dots would be perfect anyway as I didn't bother sussing it out when cutting the pieces out.

Pattern Review: New Look 6723 (bodice only)

Size: Size 8
  • 1.75m cotton 
  • 1.5m polyester lining
Notions: Invisible zipper 22" (black), Gutermann thread (000)
Time: about 8 hours
Cost: Fabric $12; Lining $4; Zipper $5; Pattern $6 (half off sale)
Techniques used: 
    • Narrow hem on the sewing machine
    • Princess seams
Pattern Modification/Adjustments: 
    • Smaller SA on front bodice so dots would not be cut in half
    • 3.5cm SA on back bodice
    • Replaced skirt with self drafted full circle skirt 
3.5cm seam allowance at the back... dots joined weirdly.
This bodice has a beautiful neckline.

I really like how fun and bright this dress is. It's on my wire mannequin right now in my lounge room and it's a delight to look at. 

When I make the 'evening' version, I'll need to make some adjustments to the bust, it gapes a little bit. I was thinking about taking it in at the centre where the two 'bodice front' pieces join. Do you guys have any suggestions?

When I wear this to the kid's costume party, I might wear a black top underneath so my skin is 'black' like Minnie... if it's a hot day I'll use Hollywood Tape so I don't flash anyone when I reach over for the salad.

The belt is great because it hides the 'half' spots where the skirt and bodice join. Also hides the mismatched seams at the zipper. I have to admit, I didn't pay too much attention when it came to matching the back seams. All the other seams are fine though.

I give myself an 7/10 for this dress. I stay-stitched, understitched, ironed and measured grainlines carefully. I sandwiched the zipper between the shell and the lining using the machine instead of hand-stitching, still looks great, clean machine finish (tutorial here).

Ooh, I have white gloves (from a Super Mario costume) that I will wear on top of the black opera gloves and will also buy a yellow pair of socks to wear on the day - yellow shoes are out because it's an Asian house so we will be taking our shoes off at the door :P I'll post more pics after I attend the party.

In conclusion, I give New Look 6723 pattern 9/10. 
  • It's easy enough to make without instructions
  • It's simple yet elegant
  • It has different options for sleeveless/short sleeve/long sleeve 
  • It has different front bodice/neckline options and also a purse pattern
  • If the multisize gave me a smaller size - 6 - it would be perfect. An 8 should have fit me perfectly at the waist, but I read on the instructions that there is 6.5cm of ease or something built in?!
I will definitely be making this dress again. New Look, I like you! 

Update: Photos of me wearing this dress at the costume party are blogged here.

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Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Scream Bloody Burda - WIP at Dressmaking Class.

Burda 7254 + Jersey x Virgin = Cries.

In the past, I have seen some of the girls in my sewing class throw their hands up in frustration and say they "hate" a dress and I always thought they were being a tad dramatic. Now I understand. 

They all warned me that Burda patterns are more difficult than Vogue but I got sucked into buying this pattern. Who can resist the sexy drawing on the envelope!

Pair that with slinky-malinky jersey and it's frustation X's 100! 

The cutting alone took 4 hours... okay, maybe 2 hours since I spend about half the time at class chit chatting... 2 hours of multiple anxiety attacks! Not fun. The fabric was shifting all over the place and I was too scared to handle it because it was so slinky and stretchy. Gahhhh!

I stabilized the facings and centre front pieces with McCalls Iron On Soft Knit interfacing. I was after 'textureweft' but Spotlight have discontinued it.

After the cutting came the tailors tacks. Gahhhh!
There was a million of them and the orange thread I chose gave me the heebie-jeebies - they looked like fiery leeches.

Tailors tacks on front dress piece.

Slinky jersey.

Pleats, pleats, and more pleats!

Last week I finally busted out my Brother and stitched the pleats into place and tonight I joined the 'front' pieces to the 'centre front' piece. 

My teacher helped me heaps with this since Burda instructions are vague and hard to understand compared to other patterns. I stabilized the "corners" on the centre front by stitching on the seam allowance, then I had to clip into the seam allowance so that the front piece could join the centre front. Bleh. Hard to explain!! 

Attach centre front piece instructions...

"Clip centre front piece into corner, close to stitching arrow" as per instructions.

Hand basted the corners for nice sharp corners.

I actually contemplated taking one term off class to get away from this ball breaking pattern... don't worry, I have re-enrolled and will be back next term to continue with this dress ;)

Front of the dress, sans sleeves, pinned.

Pleats look good, but I'd like to unpick and tweak a couple of them.

For weeks I felt like I was getting no where with this jersey nightmare. Finally there is some progress :D
I feel so much relief after getting the front and centre pieces pinned together. So much relief. 

To be continued...

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Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Finished Project & Pattern Review: Vogue 8603 skirt with side ruching.

Hi lovelies! 

Just a quickie post today. 

Firstly I want to say thank you for all the kind birthday comments on my last post, aww I feel so loved <3 thank you guys!! xox

I finally hemmed my V8603 today after two weeks of it hanging up in my lounge room.

Okay, I have to admit, I didn't hem the skirt... I used hemming tape! Don't judge me! The only other time I have used hemming tape was on my cummerbund for my vintage Simplicity 3222. I know hemming tape is cheating... but I'm quite happy with the result. I think I just got over that UFO so I wanted to get it done and dusted and out of the way.

It's been so long since I made the skirt I barely remember the details!!! 
This time around, I found it much quicker and easier to finish. The fabric I chose for this skirt is a bit stiff but after a good pressing, the seams sat nicely.

I overlocked the raw edges and handpicked the zipper. Really digging hand picked zips!

The zipper needs to be more invisible, but overall it looks good enough.

Out of this version and the 'bird' fabric version I made a few months ago (post here) I think I like the bird skirt better. I think this skirt is too 'disco-ey'? Or it could be the crispiness of the fabric... not sure. I love the fabric - it looks awesome on my 'black & wine' dress and the clutch looks great.. but this skirt... I'm not sure!

My favorite feature of this skirt is the side ruching. Cute as! 

Pattern Review: V8603 skirt with side ruching.

Pattern: V8603, View A
Size: Size 6
Fabric: 1.0m polyester from The Fabric Store
Notions: Dress Zipper 8", Gutermann thread (000),  0.5m whisperweft interfacing.
    • omitted the lower back gather,
    • unlined,
    • shortened skirt by 15cm,
    • 3cm hem
Time: I can't remember :/
Cost: About $8 for fabric and zipper.

Now that I got this UFO out of the way, I can focus on my jersey mission, full post on that next week after I make some more progress at class.

Next week is the last week of term. Already! I swear it feels like I've been tracing and cutting this Burda nightmare all term! Last class I finally started sewing.

Also need to finish off my M5850 UFO. All I need to do is top stitch the bodice and sew a hook and eye. So lazy.

Last week I had a business trip to Albury, you could say it was "interstate" but I was only *just* over the border of NSW haha. I was a guest at the Regional Housing Awards. I was going to wear my handmade LBD which I made when I first started sewing so it's not the best hand made dress, also it is made from poplin so it's clingy. Luckily I packed a back up dress because when I got to Albury and unpacked, my LBD was as wrinkly as an elephant. Wah!

I wore my M5845 with full circle skirt instead. It looked great and a much better choice than the poplin LBD.

After wearing that dress on Friday night I fell in love with the M5845 all over again! I am planning on making this exact same dress, full circle skirt and all, in a cranberry fabric (delustered satin maybe?) to wear to the next round of Housing Awards in Melbourne.

I'm wondering if delustered satin has enough drape so that the circle skirt will hang nicely. We shall see! I am really in love with full circle skirts :D

Thanks for reading :D
Till next week...

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Sunday, 2 September 2012

25! The Birthday Post.

Hello lovelies!

Guess who turned 25 the other day? Yes, me!! 25... like wow, quarter of a century!

I wanted to lay low this year and organise a casual get together later on in the month, not specifically for my birthday, just a quick drink and a chance to catch up with all my friends.

I love celebrating everyone's birthdays except for own birthday. I think it's because I have always been a shy person who dislikes being centre of attention. I feel like there is so much expectation on birthdays... when people ask me "What are you doing on your birthday?" I feel like they are so disappointed when I say "Uh, nothing much..." Anyone else feel this way on their birthday?

I decided that I would go to work on my birthday cos I love my job so much :) Sure it's stressful and frustrating at times but I love my little team of eight. I always have fun at work, even when it's not fun.

When I walked into the office, I found... a chocolate croissant on my desk! My girlfriend from work bought it for me for breakfast. All week long I had been talking about chocolate croissants (thanks to Meryl Streep - It's Complicated).

I ate my warm chocolate croissant and it was absolute heaven!! I was on a #myfitnesspal eating frenzy of clean food for the last two weeks in an effort to lose my winter weight, eating fresh, healthy food and cutting out all junk and processed food so the croissant was a huge binge. Meh, it's my birthday!

My other girlfriend then came to see me and gave me some OPI nail polish. My other colleagues came in and all wished me happy birthday and gave me a card. Aww! I love these guys, I've only been in the team since April and they have always treated me like family. 

At lunchtime, the girls took me to Trunk Restaurant for a three course lunch. It was awesome! We shared polenta chips with jalapeno mayo, I had the homemade papperdelle with wagyu bolognese and for dessert we shared a tiramisu and creme brulee. Delicious.

We rolled back to the office hours later and fell into a food coma. Afterwork I was planning to head home and maybe start a new sewing project.. instead my girlfriend and I dropped into my favorite bar for a quick cocktail. Another mate came to meet us and before I knew it, one cocktail turned into five! We then went shopping to sober up so we could get ourselves home. 

On the way home, my girlfriend told me she had baked me a birthday cake but didn't bring it into the office because she wasn't happy with the height of the meringue. Whatever! She is the most awesome baker so we went to her place and I had a piece of lemon meringue pie. I was so touched she baked me a birthday cake! Amazing friend or what!

I had such a wonderful day on my birthday. The best part was it was all unplanned. Unplanned plans are the best plans, in my opinion. 

The next day I went to see my mum and sister. Even though I told my mum no presents, she got me a some clothes anyway, a cute summer dress and a top. My sister got me a gorgeous black handbag with gold studs.

Recognise the dresses my mum and I are wearing? My mum is wearing the Butterick 5455 and I'm wearing my Read All Over dress that I made for my newspaper article. Mum is so cute!! She is so proud of everything I make, always encouraging and full of useful sewing tips. Mum also sews, I blogged about my mum here. I think my mum looks fantastic in the B5455.

My sister almost wore her B5455 to lunch but didn't because my mum was already wearing her's, so my sister opted for a RTW red dress instead... and ended up matching me! It's so funny, because on my sister's birthday I deliberately dressed us the same (well, similar, pic below) and now on my birthday it was a total coincidence!

My mum and sister took me to yum cha for lunch. It was amazing!! I haven't had yum cha for a while so it was a great treat. We ate all the yummy things like tripe and chicken feet and of course yummy sui mai and har gao and all the other dim sums! 

I am so blessed to have such wonderful family, friends, colleagues and blog/Twitter friends that have all wished me a wonderful birthday, thank you! I really had a great birthday :)

So here's my birthday... in a nutshell!


I was lucky enough to be one of Cindy's guest bloggers over at Cation Designs while she is on vacation. 
Hop over to Cindy's magnificently awesome, inspirational and amazing blog to check out all the other fantastic guestboggers: Brooke, of Custom Style; Tina, of Down the Retro Rabbit Hole; Devra, of Puu's Door of Time; Justine, of Sew Country Chick; Andrea, of Four Square Walls; Meg, of Meg the GrandLeah, of Struggle Sews a Straight Seam and my post on my Hip-Camo dress, post here!

I have also finished a new skirt, which I will blog about after I get some photos. It's really cute!! Made from the shiny fabric I got from The Fabric Store... I now have a collection in that fabric haha.

Next up on the dressmaking class sewing table is my Burda dress. I finally found jersey, $10/m from Rathdowne Fabrics. It's so slinky, I love it. Very different and more challenging to work with than cotton sateen. I look forward to learning to work with this fabric. Fun times ahead :D

So that's it from me this week, ta ta for now!

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