Monthly Archives: February 2012

I love the PROCESS of sewing and I’m sure you understand what I mean! Something about creating something functional and pretty and being part of the entire process.

But sometimes fitting a garment and alternating patterns part can leave me so disenchanted with sewing. It’s not that I hate it (all the time) but as with doing anything you are not very good at, a lot of frustration and tedium and uncertainty is part of the learning process.

So often I have step away from the fitting process (especially this stupid halter dress) and go back  to doing a super quick basic sewing project(s) to kind of reignite my passion for making stuff. Actually I think I have written about this before.

So I decided I wanted to use some pretty fabric scraps and I make a fair few pencil cases.

I have stopped getting any shifts at my work. I used to work an average of 3 days a week at my job and this week I have zero shifts (they are cutting down on people to save money)… so selling these pencil cases on etsy may not be a bad idea!

They are fully lined and I also added an iron-on interfacing to make them more study.

Most of them are pretty large (25cm/over 9 inchs) but I made one really little one (pictured above). I am keeping it because it wasn’t perfectly straight/symmetrical. I now use it in my handbag for storing my  loyalty cards, ipod, shopping lists and fabric samples. Yay!

Here are the bigger ones…

The bird fabric was from a store-bought skirt that I took apart and re-purposed as was the green floral :). I have two skirts made from the leopard print fabric I used here’s one.

The gingham and the white fabric with black dots are left overs from dresses I made and the cute anchor fabric was leftover fabric from a top I made years ago.

Why am I mentioning this stuff?

Lately I have been thinking a lot about how to use scraps and leftover fabric. Because I always over-buy when I fabric shop so I end up with a lot of scraps.

Quilting has never appealed to me. I am by no means against it though! I have seen some gorgeous quilts on the Internet that are a lot more clean, modern and stylish than the image I have in my head of the quilts and “quilting”.

Last week I donated 3 bags worth of my smaller scraps to a lady who quilts for charity. I felt sort of bad because I filled it with little pieces. didn’t know what she would deem usable or how small was too small for a usable scrap.

What do you do with your fabric scraps?

I liked the silly collar I posted yesterday so much, that I decided make a pattern from it and sew the new one up in a medium weight cotton.

Edit: Wow now I realize how ridiculous this red collar looks (especially with my bad hair etc) .

I am kind of embarrassed. But fashion is like that… I mean I can barely comprehend it but once people thought mullets looked good. So tastes change, perceptions are distorted etc.

I was just making use of a fabric scrap and testing out the pattern so I wasn’t too fussed about the end result.

Here is how I made a copy of the pattern from the collar…

Also here is the sewing tip…. Actually its more of a pattern tracing tip.

Last year bought the book “1,000 Clever Sewing Shortcuts & Tips”.

In the book it mentions a tip about using clear cellophane to trace with when copying a ready to wear garment.

I thought that sounded like a great idea because it would make it so easy to see the seams and design details on the garment, so I bought loads of clear cellophane in anticipation of trying it.

I tested it out and for the purposes of this collar and it worked AWESOMELY :)!

Please excuse my excitement over such a trivial matter thats just what I am like…

Here we see the cellophanes awesomeness in action: Look how easy it was for me to see what I was doing! I used a permanent marker/sharpie and it did not slide or rub off once I marked the clean cellophane (you beauty!)

That stripey thing on top of the collar is a self-made pattern weight. I use them all the time when I trace patterns (particularly burdastyle magazine patterns).  It its a small area I am tracing I do this: Before I put the weight on I mark any line then place the heavy sewing weight over the line I drew. That holds in in place and makes it easy to trace the rest without anything shifting.

I made it the weight(s) by buying what are called “mending plates” from the hardware store, taping two together (one on top of each other for extra weight) and the making a little pocket of fabric and sewing it closed both ends.

Would anyone want a pattern weights tutorial?

These weights are super heavy 100 times heavier than those fussy light little washers and I find them lot more effective.

The real commercial pattern weights ones are just too expensive for me but these ones are equally as effective :)!

This is what it looks like traced onto the cellophane with texta/marker. That upper line on the collar piece needs to be corrected but we will just ignore that. See how easy it is to trace with?

You could just add your seam allowance directly to the cellopane but I retraced them onto a thin tissue paper. Pictured above is the one I always use (its quite thin and slightly translucent). I also use this for tracing Burda Style magazine patterns. The only place in Australia you can buy this tracing tissue is Lincraft I think its around $5 for 5 sheets of 150×110.

The “finished” pattern pieces with seam allowance added and a center front fold. They are a bit sloppy but they did the job. I am a little messy/gung-ho sometimes.

This is a little quirky and I know its not everyones style.

But I am all about quirky style (well OK not the Lady Gaga I-wear-meat-or-just-underwear-in-public-level of weird) but a little kookyness is good!

Today while I was getting dressed I noticed I had a shirt in my wardrobe that no longer fit me and the print was a little OTT for  a whole shirt .

Perhaps its not a big revelation but I cut off the collar and now the collar is a frivolous fashion accessory that I love! It reminds me of those miu miu collars from a few years back…Wow I just discovered a tutorial here I am 3 years behind haha never mind.

Also I remember coveting these collars in 2010 when one of my favorite fashion bloggers made and wore them! She is adorable. Look at how she styled the collar here I love her colourful retro style!

Anyway here is my tutorial (I realize it may be silly to give a tutorial since its super easy/obvious)

1. Find a shirt you no longer fit or you no longer like (it has to have a 2 piece collar)

2.  Cut just below the stitching line of the collar stand.

Volia! insta-fun collar!

The container I am holding is from Daiso store in Chatswood, Sydney, Australia (it came in a set with 2 other animal contaniers). It’s from a Japanese shop where everything instore is $2.80 an item.

If you are a horder of have no storage space perhaps you should enter with cation. Such a great shop for cute/silly/kitchy items though :)!

OK so another thing I am excited about. Today I bought a small cookbook holder that makes a fantastic stand for my Samsung Galaxy Tab.

Yay! Now I can watch Gertie’s Starlet Jacket Course on Craftsy while I sew! Actually  I recently enrolled in almost all the craftsy sewing courses (thats where all my money goes…)

Those of you who have ipads or galaxy tabs you would know how expensive the proper stands are and this one does the job nicely for $4. This is so excellent also because I don’t have room for a TV in my sewing room.

Edit: I wrapped some cut pieces of rubber bands around the metal slats of the cookbook holder (where my tab rests on), that way it has a bit of traction and wont slide off.

OK perhaps this is the most trivial thing ever but if you are an Aussie and you hate cheesy tissue box designs with pastel butterflies and that sort of thing: The Reject Shop has leopard-print tissue boxes at the moment for $1.

I love leopard print so I was sold!


Now If only my sewing room wasn’t so cluttered I could get in and do some actual sewing!

So far, so….um…. this is the best I can do at the moment!

I have wasted what feels like the whole day on trying to fit this dress.

I  had better remind myself that the things that are the most frustrating are often what you learn the most from.

I don’t even think I should wear/suit a halter neck style dress for reasons I’m not sure I should share (lets just say it is to do with my bust and leave it there).

After my third muslin I decided that I am just going to sew up/in lots of/most of/hopefully all of my corrections  directly onto muslin version 3. I changed the thread I used for different corrections.

I am semi worried about how I am going to transfer all these alterations at least semi-accuratley to my pattern, because I usually do some small corrections then new muslin, small corrections then new muslin etc. But this has a ton of alterations and it is very confusing. Use Muslin as pattern?

Other concerns:

The back is wack as you can see! According to the Colette Patterns Sewing Handbook  “Tight diagonal wrinkles mean that there is not enough fabric to go round the curve. you will need to add fullness to the curve making the area both longer and wider”. Apparently where the wrinkles are pointing too indicates where you need more fullness. Shorten back bodice increase mid to lower waist? or perhaps decrease volume where back goes in and add fabric to side seam. God only knows!

After reading more of the Colette Handbook I realize I need to be using techniques such as spreading or and pivoting to alter my patterns and stop doing things the dodgy way.

Also after all these dodgy changes I made the side seams are not where they are supposed to be.

Another thing to consider: I am not putting boning in so perhaps I should have a elastic in casing on the back. Or I could kill this whole back problem by shirring (which I have never tried before)

Also must add:

Gape darts. Doesn’t look gapey but what about when the lining is added and the excess SA is folded in…

Must make underarm bigger and ensure it covers my bra. Have to wear a one strap bra with this style when you are busty.

Phew I am sure I am missing some more issues but trying to get the fit right on this dress has totally exhausted me.

Simplicity 3823 just may haunt my dreams and continue to trouble me in ways never imagined possible.

I have decided I am going to participate in Julia Bobbin’s Man Men Dress Challenge.

She is an amazing blogger who’s creations are always super cute/inspiring! I just love her Peggy Olsen Gingham Dress!

The deadline for creating a Mad Men-inspired dress is Friday, March 30.

I have never participated in a challenge so whether or not I get it done by then is anyones guess.

The above dress is what I am planning on making… (To read more about this dress visit this site)

Last night I went trawling through Mad Men images. I remember after I watched the first season of Mad Men I took a bunch of screen caps. It is just filled with inspiring looks, but you dont need me to tell you that… Janie Bryant does such an amazing job.

Ah the 60s has always been my favorite era in fashion as I love the femininity and glamour.

I found so many dresses I wanted to try and make. I think Joan is the most stylish and her looks always compliment her gorgeous curves so well (eg the tailored sheath dresses and pencils skirts)!

Unfortunately I don’t have any fabric in any of the colours that she wears :(.

I got a little sad and disheartened because I thought I had lots of fabric… but I have NO FABRIC that resembles any of the looks that I love on the show! I have a lot of bright colours and bold patterns in my stash!

I went fabric shopping today and I found a cotton in a hot pink that is sort of similar in colour to the dress worn by Betty Draper (or whatever her new last name is now) in the above photo.

My fabric is a lightweight cotton with a very narrow pinstripe, while the dress Betty is wearing is a Silk Taffeta.

I know Taffeta behaves very differently to a cotton but thats OK. I am more of a casual girl (I never have occasion to wear taffeta gowns!).

Below is my fabric and possible pattern choices

Simplicity 3823 most resembles the bodice of Bettys dress (there is a seam under the gathered bust) but I want to add some kind of wrap-over detail and the waist like butterick 4919.

So I just may be making a Betty-inspired dress which she chose because she was inspired by Marylin Monroe.

“Hello! Me a weirdo? Nah. Just me looking awesome, totally ready for a night on the town”

You can tell I have had a lot of time to sew recently.

I am working tomorrow but I had today off and I did manage to start the muslin or toile process of Vogue 1206.

I also updated my pattern design blog with new wallpaper designs to download. Yay! Lots of blogging and sewing going on! Perhaps that’s why I am feeling so happy and sane at the moment.

Unlike Burda 7494 I am aiming to avoid making less than 6 muslins of this pattern:P. That way I actually feel like I am progressing or getting a bit better at fitting.

Looks like this one wont need as much as Burda 7494.

Anyway here comes the sexy fitting pictures haha.

Overall fit is good but I like a more tailored look so I pinned the bits I am taking in.

I was super excited about the fact that the pattern didn’t gape around the back neckline. I have had this happen quite often but not with this brilliant pattern. Could it be that I don’t have a dowagers hump after all?

As you can see the back bodice is a little loose particularly just before the pleated sleeve thing.

I am very hesitant when it comes to making the back more fitted. I need to be able to move my arms…

So next I am sewing vogue pattern 1206. But after that project I am not sure what I will do next.

Also I am wondering if the straight skirt that came with the pattern would be better. or perhaps a half circle skirt.

I have a little queue of patterns I want to try so I thought for reference I would post the line drawings of these patterns.

There have been a lot of sleeveless shirts around recently and I find them really fun and flattering. No one on the internet seems to have tried this pattern yet. Basically I want some fitted sleeveless shirts. If this pattern is good perhaps I could adapt it into a western shirt (using the sleeves provided and making my own pointed yokes). Shame I can’t find anywhere to buy pearl snaps!

The above pattern would be a good all rounder that could be adapted in lots of ways once I adjust the fit to my body.

Another cute, simple adaptable pattern. I have a lot of patterns for simple tailored/fitted dresses. But this one won out because it has raglan sleeves and princess seams/panel lines (so I would avoid the problems of setting in sleeves)

I have already used this pattern and it is an excellent pattern. I wanted to modify the top (near the armholes) to give it a more sweetheart look. I have a dotted viscose fabric that would look great with this style!

After all the trouble of getting the fit right on this bodice I would love to try the burda 7494 bodice with a flared skirt of some kind.

I adore this style. When you see it made up with the pleats it is so divine. Just a super versatile, dressy, chic blouse.

There are so many beautiful versions of this on the web. I have wanted to try this pattern for a while. I am not sure what view I would make but I have some really colorful stripe  fabric that would make an awesome chevron effect like the one pictured above.

I love the ruffle thing (haha how technical do I sound?)  and if the fit is good I could also omit the ruffle for a super simple skirt (needed for bold printed fabric).

Love how the drapey piece (again with the technical terms haha) softens the dress and makes it more feminine. Usually I have trouble with fitting Colette Patterns but I will have to try making this dress one day.

This is just so pretty. I want to try this at some stage.