Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Parisian chic in Petone

This is what Rosa wore today to keep out the wintry weather that has hit the country

hat and scarf Rosa's own... and what about those fantastic boots!

The pink sweat top is the hoodie I made recently from the world's second ugliest piece of fabric, and the skirt is one of the Oliver + S badminton skirts I have sewn for Rosa.  Although it is well hidden, the white t-shirt underneath is also one of my creations: another Ottobre workshop 301 t-shirt.

I whipped this little item up from a remnant sister N gave me while I was staying with her in  February 

 size 104cm

This was a fun, textured fabric which looked a little like knitting with cables and fancy ribbing

 And I cut the sleeves perpendicular to the front and back pieces to look like the cables were running down the arm

I love this pattern.  It is quick to sew and can be dressed up or down depending on the fabric choice.  

Another top I made for Rosa in the summer was the Oliver + S puppet show tunic.   I decided to try something just a little different with this item: l wanted to make the yoke in the same fabric but thought that it needed something to give it a bit of a lift....

I used a Kaffe Fassett shot cotton and made the yoke from a piece of fabric I had embroidered a floral grid pattern in a variegated thread.  I used the same thread for the topstitching

 Oops, I should have ironed a little more carefully at the yoke and front!

It was a little awkward trying to match the embroidery on the back pieces!

Luckily, I just happened to have the right buttons!  I picked these up in Melbourne a few years ago and I am really pleased with how well they go with this fabric and play along with the floral theme of the tunic.

This tunic was a bit too big for Rosa when she first wore it but hopefully she will still be able to wear it next summer.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

apologies to Lightning for the colour!

One of the first things I made during my week off work last week was another Oliver + S pattern, the firefly jacket. I made a size 3 and tried some fabric dyeing to get the look I was after. 

These Burberry items were my inspiration:

and this is my jacket

Can you see the similarities?!?

The lace was a cheap nylon variety I bought last year from when I was looking for suitable fabric for some flower girl dresses I was making.  This was definitely not suitable.  But what was I going to do with a yard of white nylon lace fabric?  Dye it, of course!  I headed to the local Spotlight and discovered they had a sale on their iPoly dye but both emerald green and red were not available.  I knew Rosa liked purple so I went for that.

I was surprised how easily and well the nylon dyed up.  I also bought some broadcloth to underline the lace but it didn't dye up very well in the iPoly boil up I had on the stove top (not too surprising given that it was 100% cotton).  I had purchased a violet Dylon dye so I threw the broadcloth in the washing machine.  The contrasting purple colours worked out quite well, I think.  

I underlined the lace with the broadcloth before I cut both fabrics out together.  

look at those fancy basting stitches!  Just like Ann on the Great British Sewing Bee

And I tried to line up the lace pattern on the corresponding pattern pieces.

I used a Valorie Wells fabric for the lining (Novella Peony) and purple hair elastics for the button loops

Although this is potentially a reversible jacket I am not sure that it will be used in that way.  Neverthless, I wanted a finished look inside the jacket so I handstitched a small circle at the top of the box pleat on the inside.  I'm not sure it was necessary but it is done now and I can't be bothered taking it off - even though it looks a bit wrinkly

Instead of using ribbon over the centre back seamline and the box pleat I made some 1/2 inch binding (similar to belt loops) and sewed these in place instead.  I like the finish of this and I was saved from trying to find a matching or complementary ribbon (which shockingly I didn't actually have at home!)

And I finished the jacket off with some sparkly purple buttons because who doesn't like a bit of bling?

 So apologies to Lightning McStitch for the purple overload in this post.  If she is lucky she might just see the soft purple glow over the Tasman Sea emanating from Wellington.

 But here's a suggestion for Lightning: I think this gay, purple, polyester top would make a perfect partner for her pride pants

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

And then suddenly the ugly duckling turned into a swan

I realize the title of this post is somewhat grandiose but I am pretty pleased with the transformation of the ugly fabric.  After trawling through a mountain of patterns I settled on the hoodie in the autumn 2007 Ottobre design magazine (number 16). Special thanks to sister N for pointing it out.


 Size 104cm

 This was fun to sew with all its extra little details such as the gathered yoke and sleeve caps

Oh no, the topstitching isn't perfect!?!

the rounded, gathered pockets


the hood with contrasting lining

and lots of topstitching.

 I only made a few changes to the pattern:

I lengthened the arms to make elasticized cuffs rather than adding a ribbed, fabric cuff

 I added bias binding along the zipper edge to create a tidier finish which is very similar to what I've seen on all the Icebreaker tops I wear


I inserted the zipper before attaching the hood so that I didn't have the exposed zipper ends topstitched over the hood


And luckily I had all of the extras at home including the zipper, bias binding in just the right shade of pink, the Lola zipper pull, and the lining fabric from Spoonflower (surprise, surprise)

  cestlaviv_monarch park purple




Thursday, 2 May 2013

What to do with the world's second ugliest bit of fabric?

When I was at university one of my male friends told me that the way he tried to get lucky was not to go for the ugliest girl in the room, but the second ugliest ... Anyway, I want to get lucky with this remnant I picked up for $2.95 (which by New Zealand standards is fantastic - a 'score' - and probably equates to practically free when compared to just about every currency in the world except for Cyprus)


This is a sweatshirting fabric with absolutely no stretch and is an unusual/ difficult magenta color. It doesn't match any of my ribbing and I am a little uncertain as to what to do with it.  Of course, I could put it back in the stash and it could remain hidden there for another 5 years.... But I hate letting things go to waste (I like to save selvedges or little bits of leftover fabric just-in-case) and I have even been accused of being a hoarder *

One of 5 fabric storage or shelving units 


Oh... and the bed in one of the spare rooms.... not to mention the floor, the boxes in the garage....

However, I think my collecting is relatively harmless: much like someone who likes to collect stamps or spoons.  And, lets face it, having a fabric collection is far more useful than stamps or spoons...  

And it is also a sign of preparedness and/or disaster planning.  I really am just a modern day Girl Guide or even, perhaps, a Doomsday Prepper.  It's just that I have different priorities to other preppers (who needs food, water, iodine tablets and a gas mask, anyway?).  So just like the musicians on the Titanic, I can play while the sun goes down.  I proved during the Christchurch earthquakes in February 2011 that having a well equipped bunker sewing room was a sanity saver (even if no lives were saved in the making of clothing).  But what did  the stamp and spoon-collectors do during the earthquakes?  Light fires? Eat dainty, little teaspoon-sized meals? Plug the cracks in the walls with First Day covers?  

But back to the ugly bit of fabric.  Sister N, who is visiting for Birthday Sewing Week and convalescing from an illness, thinks I should make a hoodie.  I suggested an Oliver + S sailboat top (to get back on the horse/get up off the mat/ try again etc etc) but N thinks I should try something new.  Oh, the dilemma. 

*I blame my father for this trait (and for bad puns and cheesy cliches)

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

A few little tops

I have used the Oliver + S hopscotch pattern to make several knit tops and a dress.  The cross-over neckline and the little, gathered centre front are what lifts this from being another ordinary T-shirt or t-shirt dress. The instructions are clear and easy to follow, and the neckline always seems to come out very even.  This is important because the perfectionist in me dislikes uneven binding that (I think) makes a garment look homemade.  It also brings back memories of the school t-shirts my mother made us about 30 years ago which, funnily enough, didn't look like any of the other kids' t-shirts....

I ordered some more Spoonflower prints in their knit fabric because
1) there is so much choice
2) no-one else is likely to have the same fabric - let alone the same pattern made up in the same fabric -  so there is very little chance of a fashion faux pas

3) because I am addicted

Funky Fantasy Flowers - Warm Spring on White (Medium).

I made this into the hopscotch dress


which Rosa is rockn' with her purple leggings!

Oliver   S hopscotch dress

The second material was used for a short-sleeved top

Funky Feathered Friends

and the modelled shot

Rosa in Oliver   S hopscotch top
Rosa's own headband

I also recently made another long-sleeved t-shirt for the upcoming cooler months.  Again, I found an appropriate fabric on Spoonflower but I used the Ottobre design creative workshop 301 - Best t-shirt Pattern.

The fabric was an age-appropriate print, Fairy islands, 1916 by craftyscientists

Fairy Islands, 1916

Ottobre t-shirt size 104cm

Ottobre workshop 301 t-shirt size 104cm
It will be interesting to see how well these prints wear.  After the first wash I thought that some of the dye had come out and the print was not as bright, and in some areas such as the neckline there appears to be some show-through of the base fabric (where the binding has stretched a little).  I wonder if there is a way of reducing the likelihood of fading: a really hot iron to set the print before washing, or adding vinegar or salt to the wash (in the same way that you would add these after fabric dying)? 


A little bling added to the flowers

And, I just have to add, none of these tops look like something my mother would have made!

Unfortunately, there appears to be a model and/or photographer strike in Wellington and there are no modelled photos currently.... 

Or, perhaps, Rosa has decided that now that she is an internet star she can be more demanding and fussy about what she will wear!