Monday, 28 November 2016

Christmas Kitty Dress and matching Bowling shirt

As part of one of my secret Santa gifts I received last year, I was lucky enough to get some of  this adorable Christmas Kitty fabric (it's called Cats and Ornaments on the selvedge) Which I swear I had not seen for sale at Spotlight prior (and you all know I look for anything with kitties on it) but after I received my gift, I did manage to find it at my local Spotlight, so I purchased a bit more so I would have enough for a dress, Hooray! It has sat in my stash all year, but now it is almost silly season which means it's time to sew all the Christmas dresses!

Spotlight Fabric and Simplicity 1459

I decided to use Simplicity 1459 for this dress, opting for the sleeveless version. I am making some design changes to it, by extending the button front all the way down, and using bias tape instead of armhole facings (which I find annoying). I am also grading it up slightly, shortening the bodice, using a basic gathered skirt instead of the pattern pieces and of course, adding pockets!

Once I had all the bodice pieces cut out (I used a plain red for the under collar and front facing to save kitty fabric) I began the construction. It goes together quite easily, much like any other pattern. Darts first, press, overlock, shoulder and side seams, press, collar pieces together, seams clipped, turned right way out, press. I top stitched along the outer edge of the collar to give it a clean finish, then stitched the collar along the neckline.

Partially sewed bodice
I went through my button stash and found heaps of possibilities, so I posted on instagram and Facebook, to see what my friends thought. I had a lot of votes for both the green ones and the red ones, but ended up deciding on the red ones on the left hand side, as there are 12, so enough to make it button all the way down the front. If I had used the green ones, they would have only gone partway down.

Button choices....

When it got time to cut out the skirt pieces, I measured what I had left and found that I had enough fabric to make the skirt from 3 widths of fabric (instead of my usual 2) However, as I was deliberating cutting it, my husband asks me "Can you save me some of that fabric?" I asked him what he wanted made from it, but he had no idea, and while I don't mind stashing fabric for him, I already have quite a few kitty fabrics in my wardrobe, and would rather use all the fabric in my dress than stash it away for innumerable years.

So instead, I measured my husband and ordered the Free Men's shirt pattern from Lekala. I had to make a few changes to the design, like shortening the sleeves, I also extended the back yoke, and cut the front pieces to have a yoke, as the panel of Christmas kitty fabric was only 26" long, and the shirt was 35" long. The back of the shirt, a panel of the front and the pocket have all been made with the christmas kitty fabric (and pretty much used up the whole width) with the rest being made from the same red cotton sheet I used for the facings and pockets in my dress.

I followed this blog post for instructions on how to sew the collar stand and collar, as that was the only part of the construction I didn't already know how to put together, and Lekala patterns are notorious for their crappy instructions. As I was finishing the collar, I decided to embroider a surprise message on the collar stand before I sewed it in.

After getting my husband's shirt done (all but the buttons and button holes) I turned my attention back to my own dress. I cut and overlocked all my pocket and skirt pieces, then sewed them together, gathered the top edge and sewed it to the bodice. The facings and armhole bindings were then sewn, and finally, the button holes and buttons.

After finishing the buttons, I tried the dress on to check the fit, and I loved it!

Still not hemmed though...


After it was hemmed, I paired it with a red belt and shoes and wore it out shopping with my mum. I felt pretty adorable wearing this, maybe because it was a slightly shorter skirt length than I usually wear.

And here is a shot of his shirt, with better day time lighting.

I will eventually get the buttons on my husbands shirt done, but it is still wearable (over a singlet) without them, so this actually makes it the first garment I have completed for him (not including ties) and he is looking forward to wearing matching outfits on Christmas day.

Does anyone else make matching outfits for their spouse?


Monday, 14 November 2016

40's style Swing trousers and another Kitty blouse

A few weeks ago, I found myself in need of more office appropriate clothing for a job interview. So I decided to make myself a quick pair of very wide leg, 40's style trousers. I used my graded up version of Vintage McCalls 9708, which I had previously used back in May, but which was now unfortunately too small for me, and a length of Navy Suiting fabric that I purchased from a fellow seamstress on Facebook.. I added an enormous extra 2 inches at the side of each pattern piece, flared the width of the legs as they went down, moved the center back edge upwards to allow more booty room, and increased the size of the darts. I cut the waistband to the size I needed, then gathered the top edge of the pants to ease in the extra fullness, I then used a side zip, and a button and loop on the waistband.

On my way to the job interview...... I didn't get the job

This were a very quick sew, and I had them done from initial thought, to finishing press, all in one evening. I love how they have turned out, and they are nice and loose fitting, so should still fit if I put on any more weight. I've already worn them several times to work and church. They look great with either of my pussy bow style blouses that I made from Butterick 5859, which is my favourite blouse pattern, I even went and made a 3rd version from the blue colour way of the Gertie polyester Kitty Print!

Front view

See how wide the legs are!

Back view

I have even had someone ask me at the shops, 2 days after they had seen me wearing them (people must notice me more than I realise) where I had got them from.
I still have some of this Navy Blue fabric left, so I think I might make a little cropped jacket to go with the pants, although, I don't think it will get much use until the weather cools down again next year (I really dislike summer...)

It is a little bit of a stretch, given how much I have altered the pattern, but I'm counting this towards my Vintage Pattern Pledge for 2016! Which puts me up to 7 of my 10 pledged makes. I have a few more on the go in my sewing room at the moment, so I might just make it!