Sunday 31 December 2017

Seashore Sundress & a GIVEAWAY

My last handmade thing to hit the bog for 2017 is a new dress for A.

The Seashore Sundress is one of the earlier Oliver + S patterns but one that I've never made until now.  You know what I'm going to say next, right? Why, oh why did I wait? It's such
a lovely little pattern!

I waited so long in fact that she has outgrown the smaller size range (6m to 4 years) and we're straight into the bigger pattern with a size 6. She measures with the width of a six but the height of about a size 8 so I added 3/4" in length to the body of the dress and another 3/4" to the hem of the skirt. I think it came out just right!

If I'm honest, the main reason I never sewed this dress is that when it's hot enough in Australia to wear a dress like this, then it's unwise to have so much skin exposed to the sun. But then there are days when it's so jolly hot you don't even go outside, so a pretty, bare shouldered dress is OK after all.

The fabric is a very light, semi-sheer cotton that I bought from The Fabric Store quite a few years ago. I think it may have been intended for the Fairy Tale dress pattern as there was more than my standard 1m-cut-for-kids-clothes, but I liked the look of the scalloped print matching with the Seashore moniker.

Little pockets  -yay!
Of course the fabric did give me the challenge of matching the print across all those seams. I was confident I could do the horizontal line part OK, but to get the curves to be at the same point in their wave form across each seam would be impossible. The solution to trick the eye away from the slight mismatch of the waves was to throw in some flat piping along every seam.

For the smaller sizes (size chart here) the pattern also comes with a cute pair of bloomer style knickers to wear underneath. Given the way this kid cartwheels non stop, and seems to be upside down as often as she is right way up, I should probably try drafting up the pattern and making her a matching pair!

In my quest to own every Oliver + S pattern in paper form I had accidentally bought the paper Seashore Sundress pattern in the smaller size range twice. After I realised my mistake it took many months of searching to track down the paper pattern in the larger size.

I think that pose says "Get to the point, mum!"...

So, I have a Seashore Sundress (6m to 4) paper pattern to give away as a little New Year's gift to a lucky blog reader. I'm happy to post it to anywhere in the world.  Just leave a comment below, and to help you think of something to say, how about telling me about the pattern that you left on the shelf for ages but then fell in love with - or at least the most recent one of those as I seem to do that very often.
(Please make sure you leave an email address so I can contact the winner regarding postage)

Now, have a happy new year! And that's an order!

Thursday 28 December 2017

Vogue 9112: Marcy Tilton meets Nani Iro

Back in the depths of winter there was a sale at Urban Sew and Janice was selling Nani Iro double gauze at half price. With no idea what I'd do with it I snapped up two different fabrics. Seemed someone else had the same idea and Janice emailed me to say her website had been too slow and my order had already sold out. Still, she would send me some of the newly arriving Nani Iro fabric for the same deal. Nice!

As the weather warmed up and I sewed Flipper's double gauze shirt I had an urgent hankering for a double gauze dress of my own. And while I'm out of town this week, if it's hot, you can be sure I'll be wearing this dress....

I'd not really known what I would do with this fabric until I started thinking about V9112 , the Marcy Tilton "Cirque" dress and suddenly I had a pattern/fabric match in my head.

A little search on Sewing Pattern Review gave me a few tips - size down to the minimum bust measurement, double layer the collar and why not throw in some flat piping to highlight the seam lines.

I had a 3 yard cut of the double gauze which allowed me to play a bit with placing the print in places that I thought would work. Honestly, I don't think the pale background colour and the yellow suit me at all, but the fabric was there and needed to be used up somehow.

I made some of my own flat piping with bias strips and every time the pattern called for staystitching one of the curved seam allowance, I simply basted the piping on as my stay stitching.

I didn't make a muslin, which is kind of sacrilegious when using Nani Iro, but apparently not if using half price Nani Iro.

Anyway, I changed the order of sewing slightly so that I stitched up most of the side seams with their pockets before sewing the centre back seam and collar. That way I could play with the seam allowance of the the centre back seam. I gave myself an extra 1/4 inch through the upper back, but it's arguably still a tiny bit tight through the upper chest.  I could then finish the centre back seam allowances, add the back lower hem section and then finish the right side seam below the pocket.

It was an easy change to the order of things and allowed for fitting on the go which isn't really possible when the side seams incorporate in seam pockets.

Yes! Pocketses!

Sewing the collar with two layers of fabric (and no interfacing) gives it just enough structure, but still plenty of  "casual crumple".  The collar has a couple of pleat tucks and I sewed these pleats in each layer, my collar and collar facing, separately before joining the collar pieces around the edge and then turning it right side out.

In this big, sparse print, the flat piping really helps to show up the lovely seam lines of the dress.

On the left side and the back it's pretty short and the Marcy Tilton blog indicates they added as much as 7" of length to the version they made for their runway show back when the pattern was released. Not a bad idea if you don't want to layer it over leggings or flash a bit of leg.

If you reach up too high to steal the neighbour's figs you could be caught out with that hem line....

But it's worth it, cause someone else's figs are always the tastiest.

Pattern: Vogue 9112 Marcy Tilton
Size: 12 (I measured closer to 14+) and it is a wee bit tight around the upper bust
Modifications: Flat piping and double layer collar
Fabric: Nani Iro - Komorebi Tender Days from Urban Sew

Monday 25 December 2017

Christmas gift making


Did you have a lovely Christmas day? I'm going to guess that I did, but I'm writing and scheduling this post in advance as I'm going to be out of town. Lets' imagine I ate and drank too much and we're probably not far wrong.

But now that the unwrapping is done I can share all the Christmas gifts that I/we made.

First up: the wonders of Kraft-Tex washable paper fabric...

I cut out this little box pattern and then drew in, using a mechanical pencil, the areas that would be each side (minus the fold down at the top) and the bottom, then A painted it. Even with my obvious THIS WAY UP arrows she still got muddled and did some upside down painting, but she took it all in her stride and turned her upside down flower into a flower on a vine. On the bottom she wrote a dedication to her teacher and signed it. Good job kid.

When the fabric paint was dry I ironed it to set the paint then stitched the box together, wet it and then rolled the top down with it damp. We filled it with dark Lindt chocolate balls and wrapped it in cellophane. Only hiccup was the grey lead pencil doesn't wash off the white Kraft-Tex as well as I'd imagined it would.

P used some black Kraft-Tex paper to sew a little wallet for his teacher

He has a "very cool" teacher who plays guitar and I've now learned is a vegan, so the choice of washable paper for his wallet was perfect. The pattern is one of the Wallet Set from Thread Theory which I'd bought with gifts and this washable paper fabric in mind. The little front pocket is perfect for a single key, or your guitar pick. If you're that cool....

P read the instructions, glued the PDF together, cut out the pattern and then did the first line of topstitching before freaking out and asking me to do the rest of the stitching. Fair enough, as the little Janome had to fairly hammer to get through three layers of this stuff. I used a leather needle and upholstery thread.

The last Kraft-Tex project was a commission for my mum's newly renovated bathroom. She gave me the dimensions for a bucket bag to hold some cosmetics and requested a black/dark grey colour scheme.

This one has had a bit more scrunching after washing and you can see how nicely the paper behaves. When it's wet it really feels like the chamois your dad used to use to wash the car.  I'd previously given my mum a couple of the Uashmama branded bags and she uses them in the kitchen, one as a breadbag for the table, and the other to collect produce in from the garden. they have aged really nicely.

I found that Kraftcolour, here in Aus, stocks all of the colours in 1.37metre rolls at quite reasonable prices. I bought one roll of every colour for about as much as one extra large commercial bag would cost. Expect a lot more Kraft-Tex paper projects to come! ;)

I thought my choice of lining fabric was terribly clever until I realised that the print on that quilting cotton would be sideways or upside down on three out of the four sides of the bag. Ah well.

Here's a little Ida clutch (free pattern from Kylie and the Machine) that I made for the daughter of one of my friends I do french conversation class with. She had gifted me a fat 8th of fabric from their trip to japan earlier last year. I've turned it into a little clutch purse to gift back!

I've never let a Christmas go by without making something for my nephew. We don't see him often enough to have any idea what his "latest thing" is, but my kids were pretty sure he'd still be a big fan of Nexo Knight LEGO.

OK, time for a stencilled T-shirt, right?!

The T-shirt is a straight size 8 Oliver + S School Bus T-shirt. I used some Lisette knit for the sleeves and back, a perfectly matched Ottobre ribbing for the neckband and a nice white cotton/lycra for the front. All from the stash.

I cut a freezer paper stencil to get the main shape and details of the character

And then most of the shading and painting was done by hand once the base stencil was dry. I've used Setacolour opaque paints and just mixed them to get the shades of grey I wanted. I love doing these!

The last sewn project was another All Day Shirt for my husband. This one will certainly get a blog post all of it's own but here's the sneak peek:

The fabric is some crazy vibrant Vlisco Wax Print from Brave Fabrics. I bought it quite a while ago and I was careful to consult the bloke as I wasn't sure he'd go for it. He has a bit of a tradition of wearing a Hawaiian style shirt for Christmas lunch and I thought it would be fun to make him one. I struggled to find the exact print I wanted (not classic hibiscus, not too floral but not like a quilting cotton surfboard print either...). When I saw this fabric and when I showed it to him and said the magic words: Tron Legacy, he was 100% on board!

Can you spot the pocket?!

Let's hope he doesn't change his mind when he sees it!

After the sewing came the knotting....

My daughter has been wanting a dreamcatcher for a long time. I think they're mostly pretty hideous, but I wondered if I couldn't make a "tasteful dreamcatcher" (oxymoron) with macrame cord. the pattern came from Fanny Zedenius' book "Macrame" . I happened to have just the right amount of 3mm natural colour cotton cord in my stash and only needed to buy the plastic ring for a couple of dollars.

The ring is 30cm across, so it's quiet a sizeable wallhanging. I think it's not bad as far as dreamcatcher's go, but the husband's first comment was "isn't it meant to have feathers and stuff?" so I'm not sure the kid will think it's authentic enough after all.

My final bit of rope craft, and the gift I put off making for fear I had been overly ambitious, was this:

With much cheering on from my lovely Instagram followers, I made a rope mat for my brother in law's new boat. I bought 100 metres of 10mm navy, marine nylon rope that was on sale and when it arrived it looked like a massively overgrown sewing reel! This project required me to cut 40m but I probably only ended up using just over half of that once it was all tightened up.

With all the leftovers I'm thinking I can kit his whole boat out in co-ordinating navy rope things!

The instructions came from my Des Pawson Book of Knot Craft & Rope Mats and I loved the quote for this project: "giving a modest yacht a touch of class" Perfect!

For a first go it's not bad although I can see that with practice in working it not too tight, not too loose, I will have plenty of room to improve.

The pattern suggested that in 10mm rope it should be 60cm across, but mine has only ended up 40cm in diameter. Not sure how that worked, but let's hope his yacht is more "modest" than some.

here it is with feet to give a sense of scale

And the back view shows my first ever go at a side splice finish. You can see the splicing at about the two'o'clock position. It worked quite neatly I think.

So that was all my Christmas crafting, but I'll leave you with some little reindeer biscuits that the kids and I made last week. The inspiration came via Deb and the LMLD food blog.

Not all of our reindeer muzzle biscuits worked out and the first batch were a bit more like mini scones. So we made some random woodland creatures to go along with our reindeer.

Thanks for sticking it out if you've made it all the way to the end!
Wishing everyone a safe and happy festive season. Hopefully I'll be back with one last post before the New Year and that one will include a giveaway. Stay tuned!

Friday 22 December 2017

Liesl + Co Chai Tee

This one also dates back to the pre-Frocktails procrasticrafting. I decided to bust out the new Liesl + Co Chai Tee pattern and whip up a quick T-shirt.

The details of the T-shirt pattern are somewhat lost in my print, so here's the line drawing from the Oliver + S website:

As you can see I made View A, which is really the same as View B but you don't fold the sleeve cuffs back and tack them up. That's the only difference as far as I can gather. I liked my sleeve cuffs flopping down.

The pattern comes with five sizes, XS through to XXL and the three different bust cup sizes A/B, C or D. As per my measurements I made the size M with A/B cup size.

I was on the hunt for something quick and easy and so I constructed the whole thing with the overlocker. The sewing machine only came out at the very end to twin needle the hem of the body.

I made it with a 1metre cut of a mystery, very drapey rayon knit that was in the stash. I made no modifications at all, but in such a drapey, stretchy knit you can see that the neckline has become very large. I don't mind it at all for general wearing, but I find if I carry a shoulder bag, the top ends up coming off my shoulders and there's a bit of bra strap peekage, which is something I'm not a fan of at all.

But as a light, loose t-shirt with a flattering shape and some interest with the shoulder pleats I'm calling it a winner. I'll be curious to see how it sews up in a more stable fabric, or even by blocking a woven fabric for the front panel and the rest in a knit. Definitely a pattern worth playing with.

pattern: Liesl + Co Chai Tee, View A
size: M, A/B cup
modifications: none (other than different sewing construction to use the overlocker only)
fabric: Cheap rayon knit from the local Vietnamese fabric shop via the stash.

Monday 18 December 2017

Name your poison....

It's the kids turn again. I can't recall what inspired me to suddenly make my son a hoodie just as summer was kicking off, but I did. Rebel, hey.

The fabric came to me via an Instagram friend who I recently met in real life - and who then went on to cross to the other side of the world and party with my brother - small world!

Back at book week costume making time, Erin had sent me a message asking if I might have one of those fancy closures that would look good on her son's hooded cloak costume. I didn't, but it so happened I was at a fabric shop at that very moment (yeah, what  are the chances, right?!) and I spotted some gold braid and figured I could try making one.

It was fun to do and when I handed it over, Erin gifted me this loop back terry sweater knit Poison fabric remnant. It's actually a really nice quality sweater knit and I'm pretty sure came from ClearIt. She figured there might be enough left for a hoodie.

I used the Rowan Tee by Titchy Threads with the only changes being to the pockets. I knew it would have to have pockets but wasn't keen on a kangaroo pocket as I didn't want to obscure the print. So I drafted some in seam pockets and then topstitched them in pace. I never would have thought I could do that but for the Building Block Dress Book which gives instructions for changes just like this one.

The ribbing is the excellent 2x2 Ottobre ribbing which is perfect for jumper/jacket weight garments. The hood I lined in a simple black cotton lycra from the stash and then I finished the front hood edge with a red/black cotton tape.

It's a straight size 10, and I suspect I cut the sleeve length at full length and then added cuffs as well, but that's just my concession to this boy's arm length. The only complaint would be that for a jumper or hoodie the sleeves run a bit narrow. Perfect for along sleeve tee, but a bit skimpy for a jumper.

I was careful in my cutting and as I looked at my remnants of the original remnant I just knew there was another garment in there....

...and I managed to eke out a pair of Parachute Track Pants in size 7 for A.

I thought it would be a terribly clever idea to do some faux flat lock stitching by overlocking the seams wrong side together and then stitching the seam allowances down. It turned out to be a nightmare as the printed parts of the fabric are quite plasticky and the overlocker could not move the fabric along at all. By covering the bottom of the overlocker's presser foot with washi tape, and lots of pushing I managed to get the fabric to feed along bearably.

The pattern doesn't have pockets but I had already made that adjustment when I first traced them off in size 7 for P's school pants. There's a blog post on the Oliver + S blog that talks though adding pockets to this pattern.

In all it was a fun diversion in sewing up some wacky fabric with some lovely patterns and making everyday staples I know the kids will wear a lot.

Thursday 14 December 2017

Maaidesign Guest Blogging - Atelier Brunette for the bloke

I'm breaking my self imposed rule to (almost) never write blog posts for anywhere other than here or Oliver + S.....

Who tempted this sewing grouch out from under her trash can lid?  None other than the lovely Maaike from Maaidesign. I've sewn a shirt for Flipper using some of the divine Atelier Brunette cotton gauze that she sells, and over on the Maaidesign blog I'm sharing a tutorial for quick, easy and secure sewing of buttons by machine. That's how everyone does it right?

Check out the Maaidesign blog post by clicking on the image below, and then be sure to come back here to hear more pattern and fabric talk (and husband pictures ;) )

I've been wanting to sew a casual, summer shirt for my husband for so long now, and when Liesl + Co released their All Day Shirt I snapped it up in an instant. When the offer of some lovely cotton gauze to make it with came in, I just knew I would have the perfect cool, breezy summer shirt.

I've sewn with a few different double gauze fabrics in the past, ranging from super cheap baby wrap style gauze through to the luxury of Nani Iro. This fabric is as good as it gets. It's lightweight but not see through, soft and fluffy but not thick. And the biggest bonus? It's a standard 140cm wide.

I requested 2 metres for my short sleeved shirt. The pattern indicates a fabric requirement of 3&1/4 yards for size L on 44" wide fabric. I fancy myself as a canny cutter but I was nervous. As it turned out, with this size, I could have (just) cut the long sleeved version after all, on my 2 metre cut. Thanks entirely to that standard fabric width. Nice one Atelier Brunette.

One thing I realised I had never done with double gauze before was sew an interfaced collar. It was a delightful surprise to see how double gauze behaves with fusible interfacing.

The double gauze is two layers of light, cotton gauze that is held together with tiny stitches. In those cheap, baby wrap type gauzes the stitches are really obvious and the fabric has a quilted look to it with lines visible on the fabric. However, these high end double gauze fabrics are invisibly bonded and the two layers of fabric seem to hover next to each other like they're magnetic.

The revelation was that when I fuse iron on interfacing to the wrong side of the double gauze, the right side continues to float over it's interfaced companion and the fabric just seems magically stabilised. Little moments of sewing nirvana, hey.

Since the fabric was proving to be so delightful to work with I decided this shirt deserved french seams all around. The yoke and collar is already stitched in such a way as to get a beautiful clean finish, so that left just the sleeve head and side seams to keep tidy.

I'm not even sure I've pointed that out to Flipper and I don't recall him exclaiming that his shirt was more beautifully sewn than any he's ever owned before. Hmmm.... minus a couple of sewing-blogger-husband points for him. :)

On to the pattern: The All Day Shirt has two views and I've made a kind of combination of them both.

View A is the standard business shirt with a single breast pocket, cut on plackets, clean stitching lines and a collar with pockets for those little plastic collar point stiffener thingies (or LPCPSTs). View B on the other hand is more of a casual work shirt. It has sewn on plackets, a standard two piece collar and double breast pockets with flaps and hidden buttons.

As much as I really want to have a go at Liesl's instructions for that View A collar (with its LPCPSTs), I knew this shirt didn't need such a formal collar treatment, so it's the View B collar. However, I did want the simple, cut on plackets and single pocket of View A. Perfectly easy to mix and match.

The short sleeve was measured to end as a casual just above the elbow length. Allowing for a 1&1/4" hem it turned out I cut exactly on the lengthen/shorten line. They could probably be a touch shorter and I foolishly forgot about that thing where you need to flare back out slightly for the hem allowance. Again, the fabric was kind to me and the sleeve hems behaved with no obvious puckering or tightness.

The size L is exactly as he measured and I made no fit alterations. I could see it was going to be a casual easy fit and that's just what we were wanting. The perfect summery Christmas Lunch shirt!

Thanks to Maaike for the opportunity to sew with some really lovely fabric. The pattern was also a delight and I find shirt sewing is very enjoyable. Especially when you can sew all the buttons on in just a few minutes at the end. - go check out that tutorial if you haven't already and see if there's any of this fabric left while you're there ;)

Pattern: All Day Shirt by Liesl + Co. View A shirt with View B collar with short sleeve modification
Size: L (as per measurements)
The fabric was gifted to me in exchange for the tutorial blog content at Maaidesign Blog. My review of the fabric here was not commissioned.