Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Top 5 Goals for the New Year, 2014.

Top 5 of 2013 - An Annual Blog Series
Top 5 Goals for the New Year

A few weeks ago, Mood Fabrics tweeted that they were seeking two new bloggers for their Sewing Network. This got my attention right away. How cool would it be to join the elite group of Mood Sewing Network Bloggers! I read the guidelines and right away knew that I would not qualify and that got me thinking about what I should be doing in the new year to challenge myself. 

Sew with a wider repertoire of fabrics: I need to step out of my comfort zone and start sewing with fabrics other than cotton and cotton sateen. I have sewed with polyester and linen but I always choose cotton sateen as my first choice. 

Sew other garments, not just dresses: I'm thinking loose pants, shorts and maybe a shirt. I'll use simple/easy patterns but challenge myself by sewing with tricky fabrics (silks, viscose, etc).

Quality over quantity: I don't want to be making 101 garments and only wear a handful. It's waste of fabric and a waste of time. I will put more thought into the garments I make, and use quality fabrics and notions. 

Tackle knits: I've been talking about this one for months, armed with Gillian's Lazy Tips for Sewing Knits I'm ready! I want to make at least one knit dress for winter.

Sew garments that I will wear more than once: I want to sew more day-to-day clothes and choose fabrics that are not too distinctive so I can wear the same dress twice. 

This concludes my Top 5 for 2013 series. 
Thank you for reading and if you also participated, thank you for sharing!! 

I wish you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR! Catch you all in 2014.

Mwah mwah mwah!

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Saturday, 28 December 2013

Top 5 Reflections of 2013.

Top 5 of 2013 - An Annual Blog Series
Top 5 Reflections: What did you learn about yourself or sewing this year? 

What did I learn about my sewing, myself and blogging this year?

I learnt that I only completed 9 garments! 

That's waaaaay less than 2012! In 2012 I finished 27 garments!!!! 27!! I don't know how I did it, that's an average of 2 finished projects a month. I guess circumstances were different last year...

In 2012 I was single/just got out of a long term relationship, was attending weekly dressmaking classes and did not go to the gym, so that gave me more time to sew. I guess I also needed a distraction from the breakup.

In 2013 I was still single but I started dating peeps, then very recently got back into a relationship; I joined a gym and a wine club bookclub; and quit my dressmaking class. 
I am now starting to find a good balance between work, gym, social life and sewing. 

I learnt that soft and silky fabrics aren't so scary after all.

I started working with softer cottons like voile recently, and there is nothing scary about them at all!! The key is to stay stitch and interface (where applicable). And be patient! Using a simple pattern can take the stress out of slippery, slinky, soft fabrics.

I learnt that Flickr is amazing!

A little late to the party, I know. I had a Flickr account when I first started blogging, but I didn't use it much, then I lost the username/password.
A few months ago I realise I needed to back up all the food photos and delete them off my iPhone - there was almost 2000 photos! So I opened a new Flickr account. Then I found the upload/share to Flickr function on my iPhone. Love it. Now I use it to store all my blogging, food and personal photos.

I learnt that my butt is size 10.

I always knew my butt wasn't an 6 or an 8, but I was in denial or something??? So I kept cutting one size too small. In October I finally embraced my size ten bum. I blogged about it here.

I learnt that I haven't challenged myself!

I've stuck to my TNT patterns and easy fabrics such as cotton sateen and the same old floral prints.

I predict in 2014 I will only be able to complete one project a month at the most, but I will invest in better quality fabrics and stepping out of my comfort zone so my projects may take longer to finish as I learn new techniques and work with a wider repertoire of fabrics.

My next post is Top 5 Goals for 2014.

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Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Top 5 Hits of 2013.

Top 5 of 2013 - An Annual Blog Series
"Top 5 Hits: Favourite creations, most worn or most loved."

Favourite creations.

My favourite creations this year were my maxi dresses. I managed to make two, and am dying to make more. Hurry up Anna!! 

My strapless floral had a few fitting issues (too big at the back), but I did some dodgy last minute adjustments and made it fit. I would wear it again, but I haven't washed it yet. Because of the bust padding, I'll need to handwash it. Ain't nobody got time for that.

M6349 bodice. 

My other floral maxi with B6582 bodice hasn't been worn yet because it's a touch too small. 
I'm sounding like Goldilocks here! 
I used the pattern pieces I cut out earlier on in the year and it was the wrong size. The bodice fits, but it's restrictive across the back and bust. I'm planning on giving the dress to mum, she will definitely fit it cos she's teeny tiny. Might have to take up the skirt, but I'm happy to do that for mumma! 

B6582 bodice.

Most worn.

My most worn dress is surprisingly a dress that was intended as a wearable muslin, that did not fit at all across the bust, and was made of plain old cotton - my Butterick 5209.

I've worn it around the house, to family BBQs, out shopping, at the beach. A bit of twisting here and there with the halter neck straps and the dress was wearable. Great summer dress. 

Butterick 5209

Most Loved.

Most loved would have to be my M5845 with outside darts. It comes as no surprise because the M5845 is my most loved pattern, pair that with floral printed cotton sateen, no contest. 

M5845 with outside darts.

My second most loved (and #5 for this post) is the M6349 dress, made from floral/fish cotton sateen. Although I haven't worn this dress yet, I love it because the fabric is beautiful, the bust ruching is gorgeous, and I really enjoyed putting the dress together. Underlining, lining, boning, ruching, gathering, hemming... I enjoyed every step of the way. I can't wait to wear it!

My next post will be Top 5 Reflections of 2013. 

I'd also like to take this opportunity to wish all my sewing/blogger/internet friends a Merry Christmas, hope Santa brings you heaps of fabric and patterns from your wishlist!

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Saturday, 21 December 2013

Top 5 Inspirations of 2013.

Top 5 of 2013 - An Annual Blog Series
"Top 5 Inspirations: What books, people, blogs, trends etc motivated you this year?"

I don't really follow trends and sometimes feel like I'm a fashion fail. 
I stick to safe outfits, don't tend to accessorize, and wear mostly black.

If I had to describe my "style" I'd probably include the words feminine, floral, dresses.

I sew mostly dresses... who am I kidding - I sew only dresses. I love dresses because they are pretty and girly, the full skirts make me feel like a princess and because I hate wearing pants.

My Top 5 Inspirations for style and Motivations to sew this year include: Twitter, parties/functions, sharing my projects, other blogs/bloggers, the #sewcialist girls.

Twitter: I touch my Twitter app icon on my iPhone about 20 times an hour. No exaggeration. It's a habit. Like opening the fridge to see what's in there. My routine goes like this: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat... Twitter, Facebook, Instagram... Instagram, Twitter.
I have two Twitter accounts - a private account and a sewing/public account. I get everything from Twitter: news headlines, weather, traffic updates, whereabouts of people I stalk, inspirational fitness quotes, and of course sewing world gossip. I have found so many wonderful blogs and met so many wonderful ppl thanks to Twitter. Although Twitter is not a direct inspiration, it leads me to the people/blogs that inspire me. 

Parties/Functions: As mentioned in my 'Top 5 Misses' post, I always sew with an occasion in mind. You'll notice that my sewing activity is ramped up around August/September when the weather gets warmer (in Australia) and I become more social. Knowing that I have somewhere to wear my new dress motivates me to finish it. My friends and family all know by now that I sew, so every time I show up at a party they will ask that question, you know the one! "Did you make that??" and it's nice to reply "Yep!" and have them gush all over mah skillz ;)

Sharing my projects: Whether it's posting a quickie on Instagram or writing up a pattern review on my blog, it gives me such thrill to share my finished projects with others. When I first started sewing, blogs and pattern reviews were very helpful to me and it motivated me so much seeing the pattern transformed into a beautiful garment, worn on a real body. I'm hoping that I can pass on that inspiration and motivation to newbie sewists who come across my blog.

Other blogs/bloggers: Peneloping and Skunkboy are two new blogs I discovered this year. These two ladies have superb style and their photos always look beautiful... *pin it* *pin it* pin it* I want their hairrrrr!!

#sewcialist: The sewcialist girls are encouraging and full of tips. If I ever have trouble deciding between fabrics - I ask the sewcialists! If I need advice on sewing with tricky fabrics - I ask the sewcialists. If I've had enough and wanna break down in tears - I tweet about it and there's always another sewcialist who understands my pain. I also tweet about my WIPs, so knowing that my followers know I'm working on something motivates me to finish it. 

The online sewing community is an incredible inspiration to me. Every one is so talented and dedicated to their craft - sewing, knitting, quilting - they make the time and effort and the end results always make me say "WOW". I have to say 'thank you' for making me WOW every day when I peruse my blogroll. It proves that you can do anything, you just have to give it a go!

My next post will be Top Hits of 2013.

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Thursday, 19 December 2013

Top 5 Misses of 2013.

Top 5 of 2013 - An Annual Blog Series

I'll start with the Top 5 Misses because it's easier to be critical and pick out sewing fails, UFOs, worn once, and complete disasters! 

I only finished 9 projects this year and and I'm hoping that not many of them fall under the 'complete disaster' category!! 

The only finished projects that I consider 'misses' would be the ones that fall under the 'sewing fails' and 'complete disaster' categories. 

Sewing fail: Butterick 6582.

How disgusting is that machine stitched hem. I should have finished it by hand! 
Wonky stitching, naughty thread tension, black thread on white? WTF was I thinking?
The bodice is also the wrong size. 
Worn once? Try never worn

UFOs: none.
Proud to say I have no UFOs... I have no UFOs because I rush to finish them on the machine  and end up with a sewing fail instead (see exhibit A above)

Worn Once: Story of my life!
I always sew with an occasion in mind so basically all of my handmades have only been worn once. Being worn once is not a fail,  I just don't wear the same dress twice! 

Below are the dresses I have worn once out into the wild...

Butterfly V8511 with self-drafted collars, worn in March to a birthday dinner.
Dressmaking. Sew Me Love.
M5845 with outside darts, worn in October to my friend's wedding.
Dressmaking. Sew Me Love.
M6349 with maxi skirt, worn in October to Thanksgiving lunch.
Dressmaking. Sew Me Love.
Psychedelic M5845, worn in November to a work function.

Complete Disaster: Burda 7371 Pants.


Okay, complete disaster might be an exaggeration. The workmanship is great. The fabric is beautiful - I love the print! Just a shame that the finished piece didn't fit me. Wahhh. My weight fluctuates like crazy so it's not the pattern's fault. It's no one's fault. My body simple isn't built to wear pants... fitted pants anyway.

This hasn't discouraged me though, I will sew more pants in the new year!!

Just realised this post featured 6 projects, not 5 - oops. 

My next post will be the Top 5 Inspirations of 2013 :)

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Wednesday, 18 December 2013

What I *haven't* been sewing and Top 5 lists for 2013!

My blog has been quiet this month, haven't started or finished any projects. 

My excuse is I'm waiting for Anna. I'm pretty confident that my sister got me the gorgeous Anna pattern (and maybe Georgia too, fingers crossed) for Christmas. 

Instead of sewing, I've been spending my time fabric shopping. 

Check out my latest buys....

14 meters in 14 days
2 meters of cotton sateen, for hoarding purposes.
14 meters in 14 days
2 meters of cotton, for hoarding purposes.
14 meters in 14 days
2 meters printed linen, for hoarding purposes.
14 meters in 14 days
2 meters of cotton voile, for a maxi dress or skirt.

And now fabrics I bought for Anna *drumroll*....

14 meters in 14 days
4 meters of tana lawn.
14 meters in 14 days
4 meters of sheer white silk.
14 meters in 14 days
4 meters of sheer black silk.

In 14 days, I increased my stash by 14 meters.  
A meter a day, keeps the doctor away! #QOTD lol.

I've also been spending a lot of time on my sewing Twitter account.
I love Twitter! Thanks to Twitter I have been able to connect with ladies who share my passion for sewing, blogging and fabric hoarding. They are also full of great sewing knowledge!

Last month I tweeted that I wanted to start sewing with knits in the new year, and @GillianCrafts of Crafting A Rainbow blog came to the rescue, shared with me her Lazy Tips for Sewing Knits...come at me knits!

This year Gillian is running the 'Top 5' blog series again and I'll be participating. 

Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be reflecting and blogging about:
  • Top 5 Misses: Sewing fails, UFOs, worn once, or complete disasters.
  • Top 5 Inspirations: What books, people, blogs, trends etc motivated me this year?
  • Top 5 Hits: Favourite creations, most worn or most loved.
  • Top 5 Reflections: What did you learn about myself or sewing this year? 
  • Top 5 Goals for the New Year.

Last year over 40 bloggers posted their Top 5 lists, check out the bloggers here for some great reads over Christmas break.

I can't wait to read what others have to share this year :D

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Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Finished Project: Another Floral Maxi Dress for Summer.

B6582 + M6349 + 50 centimetres = ....


When I asked "What is an appropriate dress to wear to Thanksgiving?" in an old blog post, Oona said "I'd make THIS for turkey day" - referring to the floral M5845 with outside darts

Well, I kinda did. Recognise the fabric?? 

A wise person once told me "don't throw out leftover fabric until you finish the project" so I held on to this half a meter of cotton sateen until I completed the M5845 and like a secret squirrel I stashed it away. 

A few weekends ago I went shopping and found some awesome black fabric. It was labelled as "cotton" but it wasn't cotton texture I was used to. I took it to the counter and asked the girls what it was... they whipped out a light and set a piece of it on fire! I stood there pretending that I knew what they were doing. The girls came to the conclusion that it was probably rayon, rayon fuji or something... they reassurred me it was definitely breathable... definitely a natural fiber. 

I just wanted to know if it was still $5.40 a meter :P 

I took 2 meters.

Sunday arvo when I was suppose to be finishing my fishy M6349, I started playing around with the rayon. I didn't have enough for a maxi dress, but I had enough for a maxi skirt. Went diggin around my sewing room for fabric for the bodice and found my floral cotton sateen scrap, yay. And it was already pre-washed, double yay. 

I always use coloured thread to sew gathering stitches so it's easy to spot and remove later.
Skirt gathered and ready to stitch to the bodice.

I used the B6582 bodice. I've only used this pattern once and have never worn the dress because of the dodgy machine stitched hem. 

The skirt is from the M6349, I added half a meter to the length. This skirt pattern is like gold. I'm holding onto to it forever! 

Pattern: Butterick 6582, View 3, M6349 skirt
Size: 6 all the way. 

Fabric: 0.5m cotton sateen, leftover from an old project), 0.5m cotton lawn (bodice lining), 2m rayon (skirt)

Notions: Dress zipper 18", Gutermann thread

Time:  approx 10 hours (3 hours to cut all fabric and construct shell, 5 hours to construct lining, skirt, bag bodice, gather skirt.. 1 hour-ish to handpick zip and machine hem)

Cost: Fabric $10 (skirt), Lining $3, Zipper $2. Cheapest dress ever. 

Pattern Modification/Adjustments:
  • Fully lined the bodice instead of facings for the bodice
  • Replaced skirt with a maxi skirt (using lengthened skirt pattern of M6349)
Techniques Used:
  • Darts
  • Gathering
Handpicked zip.

Japanese cotton lawn bodice lining.

Faux wrap bodice.

I interfaced the zip SA, it stabilized the rayon so there was no warping or wiggling when I was installing the zip. Gosh I love handpicking! 

I will go up a size next time to an 8 (possibly 10 at the waist). Despite the finished measurements being bigger than my measurements, it's a little restrictive across the bust and back.

This was my first Thanksgiving, and I loved it! Food, and wine... hehe. 
Even though we don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia, I watch an unhealthy amount of Gossip Girl a lot of American TV shows so I knew what to expect - giant turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie... it was a lovely lunch. 

Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving this Thursday. I can't wait to stalk '#Thanksgiving' on Instagram to see all your delicious food and sexy table settings!

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Tuesday, 12 November 2013

WIP: McCall's 6349, View C Bodice with Ruched Bust.


I think I have a new favourite pattern! Or at least favourite pattern in the "strapless bodice" category.

This pattern tested my patience as there was so much cutting and prepping! There was the shell fabric, the underlining, the lining, the INTERFACING!

Then hours ironing on the interfacing to all the pieces. The end result is worth it though, being able to handle each bodice piece without fear of it stretching makes the sewing process much more enjoyable.

If you are planning to use this pattern, and I highly recommend you do, it helps to be super organised because it can get confusing when you are cutting out heaps of the SAME pieces.

I'm hoping the below will help others, I'll definitely be referring to it in the future if I make this dress again.

M6349, View C bodice (no straps). 
Which pieces to cut:

#13 - Bodice Front
CUT 2 (shell fabric)
Used for front bodice, this is the piece that has the bust gathering.
Do not interface (on my muslin I interfaced it and the gathers did not sit against the underlining).
#7 and #8 - Bodice Front Lining and Bodice Side Front Lining
Used for underlining and lining, all pieces to be interfaced
CUT 4 (interfacing)
CUT 4 (lining fabric) 
- One set is the underlining for piece #13, for the gathers to be stitched to
- One set is the lining, that will join with lining pieces #16 and #17
#16 and #17 - Bodice Back and Bodice Side Back
CUT 2 (shell fabric) joins with #13
CUT 2 (lining) joins with #7 and #8
CUT 4 (interfacing) all pieces to be interfaced
Insert boning on the lining side seams

When all the cutting and interfacing is out of the way, the real fun begins! There's sewing, unpicking (grr), gathering, clipping seams, boning, understitching... you name it! 

Also, I figured out pattern piece #13!! I think the issue last time was due to the interfacing, it made the fabric too stiff so the shell wouldn't lay against the underlining, kept poofing up like a puffer fish.

This time I didn't interface piece #13 and it worked out! I made a slight adjustment to the gathers though, instead of the gathering being all the way down the front centre seam, I kepts it all around the bust...

Bodice underlining (cotton lawn)
Pattern pieces #7 and #8
View C bodice with bust gathering. 
Pattern pieces: #13 (bodice front shell), 
#7 & #8 (bodice front underlining), 
#7, #8, #16, #17 (lining).
About to understitch the bodice after joining shell and lining together.
Isn't it beautiful? To be continued...

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