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This was my final week of the sewing challenge I set for myself (making 1 item per week for a month). Technically it was last week, but I did finish the dress last week (I posted the finished dress on sunday on instagram)

So the reason behind me choosing ANOTHER summer shift dress was that I decided that life was too short not to use the best fabrics in my stash!

When I buy a fabric I really love I often fall into the trap of not doing anything with it! Have you experienced this. It can be a bit agonizing trying to decide how best to use a beloved fabric, because you want to make the most of it… but you know what?

I honestly think a dress you are not entirely happy with in a fabric you love is FAR better than a fabric you love gathering dust or tucked away in a stash for an eternity! The fabric was a lovely fabric I bought from Ikea (some years ago now) If anyone knows who designed the print please let me know!

I will say this, when I tried on the finished dress it became a case of “I’m not sure how to feel”…

While I was making it I was very excited about a simple dress that would showcase the print, but at the end of the whole process I put it on and just felt a bit blah. I was OK with it, but…

I hemmed both the dress and the lining before even attaching the lining to the dress. The problem with doing things this way is: now I feel as if it should have been shorter.

All the other dresses I made using the same pattern were too short, so I didn’t want to repeat that mistake with this one. Trouble is by keeping it longer it did seem to up the “frump factor” of the final dress and there are other things I should have changed, but really I can’t stay mad a dress made from such happy fabric!

Looking at the photos I don’t think it’s so bad. Do I look like a crazy lady who is wearing a loose table cloth? Perhaps. But perhaps I’m also a FABULOUS crazy lady as well. ;)

I just noticed (when editing the images) that I am leaning to one side in every single photo. haha- I’m not great at posing! :P Anyway. I can assure you the dress is straight when you stand straight!

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Sewing nitty gritty:

Cutting the dress out was a bit more time consuming than usual, as I tried to make an effort with the print placement :)

This is my third time using this pattern (heres version 1, version 2) and I think the honeymoon is over! somehow on this version it ended up looser than the previous version, but just like previous dress made from the same pattern, this also has the altered neckline and the low back neckline (which was lowered to eliminate the need for a zipper).

I used the same method of lining the dress as I did with previous versions. As always I used a thin cotton (probably voile) as lining because it’s SO. much. better. than. polyester lining. I’m telling you! ;) :)

Constructing this dress has become somewhat routine now and it feels stangely comforting to make it. But now that I am no longer hopeless with facings I don’t know if I have the patience for all this lining business (at least not on my next dress)!

I used a blind hem stitch/foot for all the hems because its quick yet fancy. Also I’m going to show you the insides because they are super pretty (yikes! Sewing is the only context where that sentence doesn’t sound creepy)!

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So that’s it friends the final ‘one project per week’ project! I am still going to be sewing every week, but now I’m free to make things that require more ‘fitting’. As much as I hate making toile/muslins they are essential to me when trying out a new pattern. I can’t promise that I’m finished with shift dresses or summer clothing, but I guess I will be stylish come December when it’s lovely and warm again!

Oh and thank you to the amazing ladies who participated in the 1ppw challenge! Thanks for sewing up a storm and sending me inspiration via instagram.

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Note: Sorry about the state of my hair. I think I want to grow it out into a short bob again heh Anyway…

Here’s this weeks ‘1 project per week’ project. I got hit with a pretty horrendous cold/flu thing, but I still wanted to keep my ‘1ppw’ promise! Today I felt a bit better but now I feel lousy again…it couldn’t have anything to do with taking photos of myself in a summer shift dress could it? I am such a nut job sometimes! OK most of the time, really….

Why do I sew summer dresses in winter? why do I only sew summer things? I never want to make winter clothing. I should up my game and make a coat! But I am a dreamer…summer dresses are what happiness is made of to me! The truth is I have more than enough things in my closet, so my sewing does not really have so much to do with being practical.

I was lucky enough to miss a big bit of winter this year when my boyfriend and I went to Malaysia on holidays. Sometimes I can’t believe the degree to which I complain about things or get down when the weather is cold. Winter sort of brings out my depressed alter ego or something. I need to work on changing my attitude to this season!

So what do I (actually)like about winter? You don’t get too hot when you are sewing, no mosquitoes, less sunburn, kiwi fruits are in season, coffee is even better on a cold day, more excuses to hug the people I love (who are always much warmer than I am) and of course coats kind of fun to wear! ummm that’s all I can think of! What do you like about winter?

 

Sewing nitty gritty:

I used some of the material I bought in Malaysia (I wanted to use some of this fabric- also why this is a summer project)! The pattern is Burda 7056 I have used this pattern before on this dress. The only change I made to this pattern was lowering the neckline.

I just love the simplicity of this design. It’s slightly a-line, but only slightly! It’s also loose like a shift should be, but it’s not at all baggy.

I really like how the cut of the neckline shows off the shoulders BUT the draw back is the dress is not bra-friendly, as in- your bra straps WILL show. and that’s no fun! ( I can’t go strapless or without one- I’m sorry too much information, I know!)

Materials and techniques (all the usual suspects). Blind machine hem (I machine hemmed the bottom of all the pieces BEFORE I sewed the side seams together). Center back invisible zipper. Used gutermann thread….

I actually enjoyed the facings. These ones stay down really well! I used quite a lightweight iron on interfacing for the facings. I’m so glad I bought a massive stock pile of this stuff (way back), because 1. it’s hard to get in the weight that I like especially now that I live in the city and 2. I do not want to stop my sewing project for something as boring buying interfacing!

For the all-in one facings on the dress I used the same technique I use when I line a sleeveless dress by machine. It’s pretty hard to explain so I’ll just show you some work in progress pictures….

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Above: Note this was BEFORE I graded and clipped the seams which is an absolute MUST!!!

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Above: Why hello my pretty clean-finished neckline and armholes :) Now I just had to press it like mad and sew the side seams.

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Above: with one of the side seams done!

My one regret with this dress is the back is slightly funky, which could have been avoided if inserted the center back zipper BEFORE sewing the shoulder seams and BEFORE sewing the side seams. That’s what I plan to do next time.

 

So that was it! Now to fill my hotwater bottle and watch a swedish crime drama with the boyfriend. Yay!

x Kath

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I have been feeling a bit down the last 2 days. My emotions have always been up and down at the best of times, so this little slump is nothing to worry about, but I want to make an effort to celebrate the good things.

I think, so far this year has been one of the happiest in my life! I started baking delicious bread, I’m living with my favorite person in the world, I discovered more like minded people who also love to sew and I have been on the most fantastic, memorable holiday! I may not have made much progress career-wise, but I have managed to do some work for people that they have been pretty happy with. I also feel so lucky to be living in one of my most favorite cities. I especially love living in the city area, close to where all the action is.

Sorry for getting personal on the blog… I think it’s so important for me to celebrate the good things! When I dwell on the bad things they seem to grow and fester. When I have gratitude, things seem to get better, or at least I seem to notice all the good things in my life!

So for my second ‘1 project per week’ project, I wanted to make something cheerful to wear during my least favorite time of year- winter. It’s so easy for me to give up on dressing well in winter. sometimes it seems all too easy to just throw on the warmest most boring thing….edit: I tried wearing this skirt with a jumper and tights today, but it was far too cold!

 

Sewing nitty gritty:

I discovered  a nifty way to pining the pleats before I stay stitch them (the way the horizontal pin is pinned into the fabric stops it moving around so much, when you sew)…

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I did one of my favorite things: I used the skirt portion of a dress pattern for this skirt. The pattern is Simplicity 1418 (project runway pattern). It was my first time trying this pattern and I gotta say: I’m in love! The pleats are just how I want them, and I will definitely be making the full dress version of this pattern!

I cut the skirt portion of the pattern out in a size 6. It’s pretty snug, but I want to wear this as a high-waisted skirt with cropped tops and such things in the summer (ah summer I miss you). I also shortened the skirt and skirtpattern by about 13cms or more!

I used about 1 meter 30 of fabric that was around 120-130cms wide.

I drafted the waistband myself and tried a new way of applying interfacing to it, that turned out well! By not applying interfacing to the seam allowance area it reduces bulk!

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The waistband has no front and back, it is simply folded over! It has 2 side seams, one of which became the spot for the button closure (one of the side seams).

I made a super rookie mistake and applied the waistband before the zip… WHAT the hell?! Was a too excited about the pleats? I’m better than that by now, surely?! Anyway the overlap on the waistband turned out to be too big, but i’ll live with it. Looks ‘MEH’ but I’ll show you anyway…

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Anyway the skirt was so quick and easy to whip up, but the single button hole proved a bit of a nightmare!

Bernie (my old bernina sewing machine) can no longer do automatic button holes. You used to be able to set the length of the buttonhole by pressing the back-stitch button, but this no longer works. Anyway the skirt was so quick and easy to whip up, but the single button hole was a pain.

I did my usual ‘machine blind hem stitch’ for the skirt hem, and invisible zipper. :)

Next time, when I make this skirt in another fabric (and there will most certainly be a next time) I will perhaps use velcro as the waistband fastening, rather than a button at the waistband. Lincraft did not have large hooks and eyes (like the sew one ones you get in trousers), which I originally planned to use.

Anyway here’s to my new happy skirt and the happy times to come!

 

 

 

I’m finally back in Australia. This trip really has been the trip of a lifetime. I ended up just posting holiday snaps to my instagram, because I accidentally deleted my travel tumblr (doh!)

Just to show I really mean to continue with this ‘1 project per week’ sewing challenge. I have already cut out (and overlocked) my next project. Here’s is a sneak peek…

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I think you can guess what I’m making (something I can wear in cold and warm weather). Not  that I EVER need ANY more clothes (please tell me it’s not time for a new hobby! or perhaps unselfish sewing?).

Shopping in Malaysia was insanely good! I tell you folks, this really was my idea of a dream holiday! Relaxing on resorts with cocktails and then the rest of the trip mostly consisted of lots of eating and shopping (two of my most favorite things!), But I’m sure what you really want to hear about is the fabric shopping…

I only found one good spot to buy fabric, but it really was one hell of a fabric shop. While I was in Penang we stayed with my boyfriends uncle and his family, his wife Grace remembered the fabric shop I loved so she took me back to it (isan’t she the best?!)! She said she had never seen anyone so excited about anything in her whole life. What can I say, I LOVE fabric…and when its around 5 Australian dollars per meter, just try and stop me from freaking out! haha

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The amazing fabric shop was called’ Kamdar’ in Penang. I did look for fabric stores in Kuala Lumpur, but I did not have much luck. China town (Kuala Lumpur) did have some fabric shops, but none of the ones I found were any good (all polyester fabrics and one shop filed with just gold 90’s style buttons I dislike).

Anyway here is what I scored from the shop ‘Kamdar’ in Penang:

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So many dreamy fabrics! I only had 25 minutes to choose these, I was running around like a mad woman, but I’m really happy with my choices. The first fabric is polyester, but the rest are cottons. I am so happy for every single one! Doesn’t the second pink floral remind you of a liberty fabric? its even a lawn!

I also bought some mock batik ones earlier at the airport that I kind of regret…

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We were at the airport for hours and I hadn’t done any shopping yet. They are pretty thin and flimsy, but perhaps I will find a use for them.

I have fallen hard for Malaysian food (especially Nasi Lemak and Malaysian Indian/Thai dishes) and now that I am back in Australia I’m ready to work hard, so that perhaps I can go back again someday!

So right at the start of this “1 project per week” pledge suddenly my boyfriend asked me to go on a trip with him.

Unfortunately the only time to do this (that is going work out for the both of us) is very soon…like in a few days! I feel like I am letting the team down, but I can’t NOT go, that’d would be pretty crazy and I can’t see myself taking the sewing machine.

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So the plan is to resume the “1 project per week” challenge when I get back and of course I am still going to follow along with all the lovely ladies who are taking part :). If you are on a roll, keep on going, if not a little hiatus is totally acceptable….

I’m sorry gals!  Am I terrible and fickle? Please forgive me! :(

I hate how it feels like I am copping out, this is not my intention at all! I just didn’t expect to be going on this trip so soon.

But it’s Malaysia…. I can escape the winter for a while and eat delicious food all time time. Yay!

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I really look forward to going back again! So excited!!

When I come back it’s straight back on the #1ppw “1 project per week” horse again!

If you are interested in following my travels I’m pretty certain I will be posting the pictures…Accidentally deleted my tumblr travel blog but ill post the url soon :(

xo Kath

 

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My bad sewing-with-knits experience happened a couple of years ago… I was attempting a dress in a rather thin knit (wanted to make a dress from the built by wendy ‘home stretch’ book), but I made one mistake and to my horror after unpicking the minor stitching boo boo I was left with giant holes in my fabric, landing the project in the bin!

Sewing with this (striped) ponte or ponti (which name is correct?!) for the first time was much more pleasant! For those of you who have yet to try it: Ponte is a durable, less stretchy knit fabric with much more body than regular knit fabrics tend to have. I was intimated, but when I googled “sewing with ponte” all the advice seemed to suggest treating it just like a woven. No fancy stitches or equipment needed (using a regular size 70 needle) SWEET!

I used the pattern McCalls 6460. A pattern for a rather sweet raglan number.

As is often the case: I wasn’t digging the look of the pattern envelope at all (I’m just not a sequins and satin type of girl!), but the design drawing showed potetial.

A fitted dress with raglan sleeves? Sign me up! If you have been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know how I feel abut raglan sleeves: they are just so easy to sew, and super flattering on my rather broader shoulders! ;)

I made 4 really good decisions when putting this dress together:

Firstly I decided to add the sleeves by ‘sewing flat’, meaning that I attached the bodice and side backs to the sleeves BEFORE sewing the side seams/sleeves together,  Now that I’m re-reading this post, I don’t think there actually any other way to attach the sleeves anyway! But here’s what it looks like:

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The second good decision was to hem the sleeves and the skirt by using a machine-made blind hem (using my blind hemming foot). I highly recommend this for ponti/ponte. It gives the hem some movement, but also looks really pretty and hides the stitches well! Just as well, because I was not prepared to venture into using twin needles and all that scary stuff just yet! Yeah! If you have a blind hem foot, try it when sewing with ponte, its great!

The third thing which really helped me was hemming the sleeves BEFORE sewing the sleeves together (but not hemming the skirt). This was great because, it turned out I needed to take the sleeves in quite a lot, I cut a size 6 (even though I’m a RTW size 8), but it still required fitting so I sharpened up my tailors chalk and got to work. Here’s what the dress looked like before I altered the fit:

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Ugh ‘fitting’. Why is the part I dislike about sewing also the bit that makes the magic happen?!…Then again making a ponte dress fit you is pretty quick, especially compared to fitting a woven dress, so that’s another advantage of this ponte fabric!

And lastly I was happy I ended up removing the invisible zip. I initially I did install an invisible zip the the back of the dress (as that’s what the pattern called for), but happily I was able to remove it, because turns out there was enough stretch to pull this dress on without it. Without the zipper, the back looks so much neater!:

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I was a little scared to bind the top of the neckline, but it turns using the usual bia-binding technique works fine!

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All in all sewing with this fabric (that was out of my sewing comfort zone) was a great experience. The only things to be aware of with pont/ponti are: it curls a lot, so extra pins help! It doesn’t press that well. You can press it at the neck binding enough to get by, but it ain’t like plain weave cotton! Oh and also it’s harder to mark. I got away with using tailors chalk but it is harder to mark parts in this fabric. I’m actually kind of proud of how the stripes at the front waist darts match up! :)

So happy I finally made something with long sleeves! I really dig the dress. Unfortunately it was 15 degrees Celsius today (ugh cold weather :( !), so I had to opt for pants and a woolen jumper, otherwise I would have worn this dress all day!

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1ppw

After looking at my gargantuan fabric stash and kind of grieving a little over ‘me made may’s end, I have decided to set a sewing challenge called ‘1 project per week’ (#1ppw #1projectper week) the challenge is this: complete 1 sewing project per week for a month. The project can anything, big or small (re-fashions count too). 

I suggested it on instagram and some of my lovely instagram sewing buddies decided to participate too! Yay! Much more fun when it’s not just me. :)

If you feel like being part of this challenge let me know in the comments or on instagram. You can post your creations on your blog and/or on instagram.

It doesn’t have to be for the whole month either, you can try it out for however long you like. I realize it’s a pretty big commitment and I understand that 1 sewing project every week is a lot. I just felt like giving it a go because I have the time at the moment.

Also if you are on instagram and want to participate don’t forget tag your weekly creations as #1ppw

I count this week as my first week… I’m making a ponte dress and I am about 20-30% done. Better get back to it ;)

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