Saturday, 14 October 2017

Tiger Stripes for an Urban Jungle

Recently(ish) for a University assignment, I had to use fabric to create a 3D shape using the theme "Urban Jungle" and some sort of fabric printing. Naturally, I chose to make a garment for my assignment, and drafted up a simple princess seam sheath dress with cap sleeves, using pieces from 3 different patterns, and grading up slightly.

Original Sketch
The center front, center back and sleeve pieces were cut from some black drill from my stash, and the front and back sides were cut from some mystery cotton type yellow fabric I found in the supplies at Uni. I then traced the side pieces onto a very large piece of paper, and drew out my design for the tiger stripes, then cut them out, stuck the paper to a screen and carefully screen printed the stripes onto the side panels. Once the paint was dry, I carefully pressed each piece to set the print, then took it all home to sew together.

Construction was super simple, and I finished the neckline with a scrap of whimsical black and white striped bias binding. Although I had intended to make this dress to fit my pre-pregnancy body, I had included a little too much ease, so when I finished sewing it up, I decided to try it on just to see. 

And wouldn't you know, the damn thing fit almost perfectly! So it seems I can't make things that don't fit, even when I try.

A few weeks after getting the dress back from being marked, a friend's eldest daughter was turning 18, so we headed to the pub for some karaoke (as you do) This was pretty much the only time so far this pregnancy that I have bothered curling my hair and making an effort, so my dear hubby snapped a few quick photos for me (these were actually when I got home afterwards)

20 week baby bump!
I haven't taken many bump photos so far, as I don't really have that cute little bump thing going on, what with being plus size already, but it is starting to look like a proper bump more and more these days (I'm almost 23 weeks now!)

I have a couple of maternity things I have sewn so far, although admittedly not much, my sewing room is a bit neglected these days. So I will be trying to keep posting, however sporadically here. Also, while I have not yet done any more work on my vintage cyclops pram project, my hubby and father-in-law have decided to finish it for me as a father son project, so I will try to keep you all updated on that as well.


Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Maternity dress hacked from B6094

Ever since I saw this maternity dress made from vintage Simplicity 3345 on the WeSewRetro blog way back in 2015, I wanted to re-create this pattern for when I eventually needed maternity wear.

As it just so happens, I am now 13 weeks pregnant! (however, I sewed this up some weeks ago when I began showing)

I used Butterick 6094 as the basis for the bodice, bringing the bottom edge of the upper bodice piece up by 4 inches to a point in the centre, replicating that point with the waistband piece as well. The back bodice piece was changed drastically, adding a round neckline and flaring out from the shoulders right down to the hem, although if my fabric was more constrained I could cut the back skirt separately. The front skirt is just a rectangle the width of the fabric, which is cut coming up to a point at the centre, 4 inches higher than the sides. A tie on each side, and a bodice lining is also used. I won't go through the construction, as it is quite simple, but rather, just leave you with some photos of the dress on my mannequin

I unfortunately got a few puckers in the point on the bodice, but didn't bother trying to fix them as I was only sewing this one out of threadbare old sheets as a test of the pattern. I kinda now wish I had, as I have worn this dress numerous times, and the puckers annoy me. I'm also annoyed that I was too lazy to put pockets in this dress, however, it is still a favourite of mine to wear.

I did sew in a short zip at the back of the neckline, but I haven't actually needed to use it, as the flare in the back provides enough room to pull the dress on over my head 

I already have another of these cut out ready to sew, but I have been lacking in motivation lately, as this pregnancy is just making me so darn tired all the time! They say that eases off in the second trimester, so I will hopefully be getting some more maternity sewing done for myself.

Has anyone else made some cute maternity wear? I'd love more suggestions.


Friday, 7 July 2017

A Nightie from Burda 7109 and some new vintage patterns

Recently, I found myself wanting a long cotton nightie, so I pulled Burda 7109 out (which I have used previously for pyjamas) as well as a length of floral cotton (purchased from an op shop) as well as a piece of pink lace and some bias binding.

This was a very quick sew, I had it completely finished in one afternoon, so I didn't take any progress photos. The construction is basically just shoulder seams, armhole binding, neckline lace and binding, then side seams and hem. I did add one in seam pocket to the right side of my nightie, as I am constantly needed a pocket to put my phone in, and sleepwear generally doesn't come with pockets. I made a size 22 this time (used 18 in the top last time) as I wanted this to be very loose and unfitted.

I was also super lucky to find 7 awesome vintage patterns while op shopping yesterday morning, for the amazing price of just 50c each! While they are all small sizes, that never deters me, and I know I will be grading some of these beauties up when I next get a chance.


Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Scallop front dress from a 1957 Australian Home Journal

I realise my blog has been sorely missing much Vintage sewing content of late, and I'm pretty sure that's why most of you are here, so apologies for the lack of it recently, I will attempt to fix that.

In a bout of procrastination when I should have been studying for my uni exam, I had a look through my fabrics and patterns for my next project, and chose Frock 5048 from the October 1957 edition of Australian Home Journal (the same edition the pattern from my floral green gingham dress came from) as well as a lovely floral poly cotton that I purchased from Lincraft roughly 2 years ago.

As this pattern is for a 40" bust (it's a Matron's frock, but I hardly think she looks matronly) I had very little grading up to do, merely adding a bit of width here and there, But I still diligently traced out all the pieces so I wouldn't damage the original tissue pattern, and would have the graded up version on file in case I want to make this again. I got all my pieces cut out, and started on the bodice darts and tucks, before getting back to my study (and the of course going to my exam)

Once I had finished up my uni obligations for the semester, the very next day I went back to work on my dress. I pressed the bodice darts and tucks, then sewed the shoulder and back neck/under collar seams, eased on the sleeves, attached the cuffs, then sewed the side seams. Next I made the pleats in my skirt pieces, attached the pocket pieces, sewed the skirt pieces together and attached it to the bodice along the waistline seam. I then sewed on the upper collar/front facing pieces, but when it came to turning out all those scallops, I had an idea.

After clipping all the corners and turning them right side out, I cut a piece of cardboard (from a block of lindt chocolate I happened to have on hand) to roughly the same shape as one of the scallops. I then used this cardboard template to insert into the inside of the scallop and push the edges out neatly and uniformly, as I pressed. 

Now I won't say they all turned out perfectly, but that probably has more to do with my stitching than my pressing, but they definitely all look much neater than the scallops on a previous outfit, so I am happy with this technique, and will certainly use it again.

At this point, I put the dress on my mannequin, pinning the front shut, and had a look though my stash for some appropriate buttons. To my dismay, I couldn't find many options that were both a matching colour and big enough size for the scallops. I ended up with 2 options, pale pink polka dot buttons or some medium green buttons, and posted on instagram and facebook to ask for people's opinions. Within minutes, it seemed that the green had everyone's unanimous vote, so I decided to go with that option. By this point it was evening, and I didn't think it was a wise idea to attempt buttonholes when tired, so I left it until morning.

The next day, I sewed the buttonholes, then used them as a guide for placing the buttons, ensuring they would all line up. Then all that was left to do was to sew on the buttons, sew up the front of the skirt and hem it. Unfortunately I did not have enough fabric left over to make a self covered belt for this dress (unless I piece it together) so I am hoping to find a suitable green belt to match the buttons. After wearing out the next day, I realised I will need to add a hook and eye at the waistline at the front, as it pulls open ever so slightly.

I haven't yet managed to get any modeled photos of this dress, as it has been quite cold and wet here for the past few weeks, but I will hopefully update this post when I do.


Thursday, 8 June 2017

A 14th century cotehardie

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine asked if I would sew him a fitted cotehardie. Well actually he asks me to sew plenty of things for him, but this one I actually did. He had already bought Reconstructing History's men's cotehardie pattern about a month beforehand, and had the fabric (calico lining and off white herringbone weave cotton for the outer) so on an organised "making day" at his house, while others worked on archery related projects, I measured him up and got to work.

He fell almost spot on in the size chart for the 38 inch chest, but his waist measured for the size above, so I cut the calico lining out based on those sizes, although I needn't have worried about the waist, as we ended up taking the waistline in quite a bit to make the cotehardie well fitted through there. Once I pinned the pieces together and he him try it on, I took in about 1/2 an inch at the waistline at the back and both side seams. I also trimmed almost an inch off the shoulders, as they were sticking quite far off. Based on the measurement of his upper arm, I cut out the next size up for the sleeves, but found they were still a bit too small for him, so cut them out again, another size up, and adding extra width at the fore arm and wrist, and about 2 inches extra length.

Once I was happy with the fit of the lining, I then cut out the outer pieces, and only just had enough fabric, with very little wastage. The construction was very simple once the fit was sorted out, as we were only making the shorter version (so no gores to deal with) so it was just the shoulder and side seams of the bodice, then sewing around the outside of the lining and outer, then turning right side out, pressing, sewing the sleeves together, then to the bodice. Then all that was left to do was the hand worked eyelets and to hand sew the turning hole closed.

I got about half the eyelets done by the time I called it a night (I had been working on it at home that evening) but then finished them up in the car ride to Blacktown Medieval fayre the next day, and my friend then wore it while we were there, and we were both super happy with the look and fit of it. 

While overall the pattern was quite good, and included a couple of pages of research into the cotehardie at the beginning of the pattern, and I did like that it didn't have massive amounts of ease (except maybe in the waist) like some patterns, there were a couple of things that could have been better. On each pattern piece, the size is only marked on the line in one place, and all the lines are the same plain black line (no differing colours, weights or dashes/dots) which made it difficult for my friend to follow which line he was supposed to cut (yes, I'm mean and made him cut out the paper pattern) However, I did like how they explained how to fit the pattern, and think most of the instructions are quite good for beginners.


Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Me-Made-May Conclusion

May 29
I wore polka dot jeans and a white store bought singlet, as I was working on a uni assignment that involved woodworking, I didn't want to get any of my me-made shirts dirty or damaged. Not sure I would ever be bothered to sew my own basic things like singlets, when they are so readily available, but even if I did, I wouldn't be willing to ruin them with paint anyway.

Photo from when I first made this dress

May 30
After workshop I changed into my red check Butterick 6094. For a while I had put on too much weight to wear it comfortably, but I seem to have lost enough recently to wear it again, yay!

May 31
Wore my polka dot jeans and white singlet again, as I was doing more work on my Uni assignment (in fact I spent the next 3 days painting and sanding more layers on it)

While I certainly found this year's Me-Made-Made to be less difficult than previous years, I still would like to make more winter outerwear as well as winter pyjamas to complete my me-made wardrobe. Although I have almost finished making a new jacket, I have been far too busy with end of semester assessments and exam study to finish it, but hopefully will find some time to do more sewing in the upcoming school holidays. I found at the end of the month, I still had plenty of me-made outfits that didn't get worn, but could have, so I certainly have enough outfits to get by (although that won't stop me making more) Now that I have submitted my last 2 assessments for the semester, I have already begun  sewing some new projects, which you will all the seeing here soon.


Monday, 29 May 2017

Me-Made-May Week 4

May 22
For classes on Monday, I again wore my yellow, orange and pink Butterick 6167

May 23
After Workshop on Tuesday I changed into my red and green Simplicity 3107 for the remainder of the day. At the medieval club meeting that night, I made myself some viking rus trousers, and a pair of calico braies (basically boxer shorts) for a friend.

May 24
I wore my yellow and red gerbera dress again for another lazy day around the house.

May 25
For a day of lounging about the house and running a couple of errands, I wore my pink wrap dress, pattern available from here.

May 26
On Friday I wore my Leopard skirt and off white shirt, neither of which have made it onto the blog. The Skirt is a half circle skirt with in seam pockets, make from a soft and stretchy leopard print fabric. Due to the stretch in the fabric, when I made it I didn't bother putting in a zip. I chose to wear an easy, comfy outfit, as we had archery practice, and then an evening of learning to sing medieval (and medieval-ish) songs.

Made by Kelly at Make it or Cake it

May 27
Saturday, I managed to sleep in and run 2 hours late for a friend's birthday party. In my rush to get out the door, I threw on my Kitty B6167, as it was convenient. Despite that, I still got there in time for cake! (which was an awesome chocolate mud with raspberry ganache, decorated to look like a Hawaiian shirt)

May 28
Just spent the day at home, so I simply wore my Kitty B6167 again

So, we are almost to the end of another Me-Made-May, and while I certainly don't feel as challenged as I have in past years, there are still a few things I would like to get made to complete my wardrobe, but I am happy with how much of my wardrobe is already me-made. It's making me feel inspired to donate even more of my store-bought clothing that is sitting, unworn, in my closet.