Monday 30 December 2019

end of year gymnastics...

It would be nice to have all of the 2019 makes on the blog before the end of the year.

But I can see that won't happen as there's a good few that aren't even photographed yet.

And if I'm honest, I can barely remember some of the details of things I've made.

The end of term gymnastics show involved a routine set to the Pink Panther theme song, and required a pink top and white bottoms.

Of course she had neither of those things, and amazingly my fabric stash had neither of the fabrics I wanted. I'm sure there's some thick, white, stretch poly-something left over from the Evel Knievel suit but it was not to be found. So I shopped cheaply.

The t-shirt style was dictated to me (you know how it goes) and so I used the School Bus t-shirt as the block. I've added a ruffle to the sleeves and scooped out the back neck, finishing the neckline with binding rather than a neckband and adding the cross straps. The angle/position of those is not quite as it should be but did I care enough? No sir.

The shorts are the Nature Walk shorts, already traced off as swim trunks and super quick to sew.

I'm writing this on my phone (first time, so I'll be very curious to see the formatting) out at my mother's house. She's just had me sew some basic cushion covers....

I need to pin her down to photograph her Christmas gift jacket. It's much more interesting...

Monday 23 December 2019

See You At Six pullover

I've always quite liked this particular See You At Six French terry, and when it went on sale on Cup Day at Fibresmith I snapped some up.

It's a lovely neutral green-grey colour (Climbing Ivy Green) with black print that says "Growing Ideas in the Garden of Your Mind". His little sister thinks that's creepy cause it's growing ideas in your mind, as in the mind of the person who reads the words on your sweater. She thinks it should read my mind.

I bought some of the matching ribbing and quickly and easily sewed up a Jalie 3355 just like the one I'd made in June for his birthday.

Rather than just do the stitching at the neckline, I figured it wouldn't hurt to add a little section of the ribbing as a sort of applique and then stitch it down. My regular sewing machine was off having a service, so I had to make do with the decorative stitches on the back up Toyota machine. There wasn't one that really looked like what I wanted, but I guess this one still looks alright.

The modelling shoot was kind of funny. First, we decided it was best not to sit in such a way that drew attention to the big scab on your knee...

Then there was some elaborate dance routine that would probably be recognisable to anyone less unhip than I am...

Which ended with him giving himself the giggles....

There you go. Cute kid .New long sleeved top. Enough said.

Pattern: Jalie 3355
Size: O - no modifications
Fabric: See You At Six French terry from Fibresmith, matching ribbing

Wednesday 18 December 2019

Secret Valentine Exchange part XI - fresh hoops

Back at the start of the year I found a craft I wanted to try and knew exactly who I wanted to make it for. I even imagined the event to which she would wear it...

I'd stumbled upon this great tutorial for wrapping hoop earrings with fresh green leaves and string: Kate A. Creates

Timing was against us and it didn't happen in quite that way. Jump forward 8 months and I didn't have any tiny fresh leaves, nor did my giftee have a garden party to attend, but why not gift a pair of infinitely re-wrappable earrings. So long as one isn't immediately repelled by the smell of lavender!

Any time, any date, if there are fresh leaves to be found these can be re-wrapped and worn.

I think the trick is to find tiny, tiny leaves. I auditioned a few other garden plants but a bigger leaf gets lost as it simply gets squashed down by the string wrapping. I also found that a twisted yarn becomes somewhat untwisted and fluffy as you go. The variegated Hemptique hemp string worked perfectly, but a smaller leaf and finer gauge would make it just so.

But it's a very fun exercise in crafting and they do look pretty boho and cool. After I'd auditioned a few plants that didn't work, I also wondered about wool rovings, or even fabric strips. It would be easy to pair them with an outfit by using some of the fabric from the garment and then wrapping with a co-ordinated 1mm waxed cotton macramé thread.

I caught up with the delightful Nicole of maciniccreates and we chatted fast and loose over a few good coffees. I knew she could rock a weird, plant material statement earring, and I'll be honoured to rewrap them when they need freshening up.

Meanwhile I suspect she'll be either super chilled and relaxed from all that lavender smell on each side of her head, or quite nauseated and fed up with smelling like cheap toiletries! :)

Wednesday 11 December 2019

Melbourne Frocktails - The Stash Bag edit

We're pretty proud of the take home stash bag that we introduced to Melbourne Frocktails when we took over the event last year. This year the stash bag was bursting with great stuff.

Our bags are eco produce bags that we had printed with our logo on the front. Perfect for the fruit and vegie shopping long after frocktails is over.

We encouraged all of our sponsors to have some kind of physical presence in the stash bag. We collected business cards, discount vouchers as well as a lovely array of gifts. There were mini posters, fabric/wool wash samples, bias binding, buttons and trims.

The bags were full to the brim and were handed out as guests left by our lovely doormen!

As soon as the dust had settled on my cocktail hangover I got stuck into some of the bigger gifts and sewed up the little treasures that were in a stash bag.

Let's see what one could make just using what was in the stash bag...

First up, I made this top for my daughter.

A very generous sponsor, Lush Fabrics had sent us 5 cartons of fabric!! There was a 1m cut of fabric for every attendee. They also sent a couple of extras for Lisa and I and I've already shown you the t-shirt I made for myself.

While we were packing the 150 stash bags we gave A the job of putting one fabric package into each stash bag. Then Lisa and I went dizzy going round a table and gathering all the other bits to add to the bag.

The pay off for her help was that A got to choose one of the fabrics to keep in our stash bag.

This fabric is a beautifully soft, gauzy knit. The feel and hand of it is really nice. It was plastic wrapped when she chose it so she just went for the big stars, but she has barely taken the top off since it was made and I understand why.

I chose the dolman sleeved top from Ottobre that I'd made back here. Same size, although I added 1" length to the sleeves and to the body.

It was the perfect pattern as the bias binding I'd use for the shoulders was also in the stash bag. Fibresmith had gifted us a beautiful discount card and each card had either a Soak wash sample or some bias binding attached. I'd scored some bias binding that matched my fabric pretty nicely.

When I split the bias binding in half lengthwise so make it thinner it turned out to be more than enough for the sleeves. So then I decided to use the bit remaining to bind the neckline. It was exactly the right amount!

The gorgeous little You Are Loved label was a gift from Kylie and the Machine that was included in the stash bag.

Technically, the hem elastic didn't come out of my own stash bag, but it was part of the insane amount of stuff that was donated to Frocktails by Jimmy's Buttons. Lisa and I spent a whole extra day putting little bundles of lace, jewelled collars, belt buckles, toggles and buttons into small brown paper bags.

Next up was the collaboration between Melbourne Frocktails, Next State Print and BloglessAnna.

I've already waxed lyrical about Next State Print when they made the fabric for our Bowie skinsuits.
Well, they generously offered to print a panel to go in every stash bag that could be a cut and sew type purse or pouch.

At about the same time as we were having that conversation, BloglessAnna offered to gift every attendee one of her gorgeous metal zips.... What if the zip was intended for the pouch, we thought...

And so the Apertio pouch was born. Lisa and I thought about a basic pouch pattern, but wanted something a bit unique, and when we put the idea to Anna that here was an opportunity to create a pouch pattern, specifically for her zip, she was all over it.

Of course, our deadline was maybe not her idea of pattern creating fun. But if you haven't downloaded the free Apertio pouch yet, you should, it's a beautifully designed purse and the instructions are top notch.

Lisa did the fabric design and made it perfectly match the colours of Anna's zippers as well as getting everyone's logos on the bottom panel.

The other clever thing we could do was design a directional print which would change direction at exactly the point where the bag folded at the top. Usually a directional print wouldn't work for this pattern as the back would end up with the print upside down.

As it was with my leftover Frocktails shirt fabric that I used for the lining:

If the fabrics are looking a bit weirdly shiny in these photos it's because I covered both the outer and the lining fabrics in iron on vinyl before sewing the pouch. It's turned it into a perfect toiletries bag.

Oh, and I had a tiny extra bit of frocktails shirt fabric, so I made a simple internal pocket (not part of the pattern, but easy to add).

The final bit of sewing I did was new territory for me.

I took on the challenge of making some underwear with one of the little bundles that every attendee was gifted from Pitt Trading.

In the bundle was some stretch fabric, lace, a floral applique and fold over elastic. All tied together with a pretty cord and a little heart tag.  It looked like a half metre cut and an experienced underwear sewist would know what the fabric is, but it was a good synthetic knit with strong recovery.

I figured there would be enough for a singlet and knickers so long as I didn't mind the singlet being a bit short...

No modelled pictures (ha!), as what I hadn't quite imagined was just how sheer, and see through this otherwise quite substantial fabric would be!! The fabric would be perfect for shapewear, as the hold it in factor of this underwear set is great. I'll be wearing under clothes for sure!

The pattern is Jalie 2568, which I happened to have in my Jalie stash. A pattern for camisole and pants.

The camisole pattern is intended to have stretch lace finishing the neckline. The lace that was included in my bundle was not stretch, but what I did was stretch it to fit the neckline as best I could, and then I used the pretty cord from the bundle to thread through the free lace edge and gather it. It kind of works :)

The back neckline and armholes are finished with the fold over elastic from the bundle.

That left me with enough fold over elastic to finish either the waistline, or the leg holes of the knickers but not both.

I elected to use it on the legs and then created a fold over hem at the waist and put some of the lace under the front hem.

I thought about adding the floral applique thingy but it was a bit more cream than the stark white of the fabric and I figured my see-through-scanties were fancy enough!

I'm quite proud of having been able to find a way to make a full set of functional, if not practical, undies out of that little gift.

I'm also very proud of what we've created for our Frocktails attendees with the stash bags and I hope every one else has found useful treasure in their bags. Now I need to go online shopping and use up my discount vouchers!

Tuesday 3 December 2019

Secret Valentine Exchange Part X - Cycling Cap

This was the November instalment in my year of making a gift for a (semi)stranger (Secret Valentine Exchange in hiatus). I misjudged just how long it takes to get something from one side of our country to the other, foolishly thinking it would be less time than it took to send something to Canada. Wrong.

Anyway, I've heard it arrived yesterday so I can share here...
Let's start with the first prototype - the one my gift recipient didn't receive.
I'm working on the blog-proven premise that everything looks better on my son, hence the cool model.

Back in my original callout for suggestions Tracey asked for a cycling cap. Something to wear under her helmet to keep the harsh W.A sun out of her eyes and off her head.

I have no experience with wearing or sewing cycling caps. They've never been part of the cycling tenue at our house. But it seemed like a fun and worthy project, and one day, when the older bloke decides he is thinning on top sufficiently to need a cycling cap, I'll be ready!

I started with a search for an online pattern. I found this one via Flickr but there's no way those dimensions were correct. I couldn't print it such that the written measurements would match the actual pattern pieces. But in the comments was a link to a printable PDF version that was slightly modified, so that became my launching point.

The pattern has four panels, each with a dart, then the brim attached.
I knew it was going to be a summer time hat, not a warm winter thing with ear covers, so I thought why not use some pretty Liberty of London fabrics.

I meticulously french seamed both my darts and my 1/4" panel seams so it would be gorgeously neat on the inside.

I added a KATM label with Bespoke on it, but forget to heat seal the cut ends of the label, so after stitching it into my tiny french seam it did pull out a bit and look like it might come out. I simply stitched around the other three edges to secure it and it was good.

The brim on this one is just a single layer of the plastic from a 2L milk carton.

You can wear it turned up for full visibility...

Or flipped down to keep the sun out of your eyes...

I didn't follow any instructions to construct the cap as it all seemed pretty self-explanatory. After basting the brim to the cap I then made a strip of pink cotton/lycra knit binding to finish the inside of the cap all around. I made the binding smaller than the cap so it would be stretched a bit to fit, but also added a short section of elastic at the back inside the binding for further gathering.

Here's where I made a Secret Valentine Exchange rookie error - I'd failed to do my research on my giftee. The hat was OK, it was perhaps a little bigger than I'd wanted it to be. The plastic of the brim threatened to be a little sharp at the edges. But it was beautifully made and looked super cool with six different Liberty fabrics.

In looking up Tracey again on Instagram to ask for her address I found an old conversation we had through direct messaging about women's cycling clothes. It ended with the line "... and I hate pink"

Time to make another hat and fix the little niggly bits and ditch the pink!

This one is also a Liberty of London fabric and one of the only Liberty fabrics that I'd ever get excited about myself (not a fan of pink or florals either!)

I took about 3/4" off the bottom of each panel so that the crown was less deep. I added about that much to each side of the brim to give it a more gentle and wider attachment and I covered the milk bottle plastic in a layer each side of that interfacing that looks like paper felt. It softens the plastic a little and protects the fine fabric from the sharp, plastic edges.

I still French seamed all the darts and seams, and this time I reached beyond what was immediately next to me and sought out some black knit for the binding.

I didn't have another Bespoke label, but a One of a Kind label seemed equally appropriate.

I'm pretty happy with this one and I hope it suits Tracey's bike style and keeps the sun and magpies off her face for many rides to come.

Thursday 14 November 2019

Melbourne Frocktails 2019 - The String Edition

Melbourne Frocktails. That annual event where clever people from all walks of life outfit themselves in something they've made themselves and then turn up for cocktails, canapes and chat.

It always seems the perfect excuse to go all out and try something a bit different. And so I did....

With my "experience" of a couple of baskets, one hat and one scarf, I decided I could crochet a dress.

I never would have though to do that, except that I found a giant cone of Italian viscose tubular knit yarn for sale on String Harvest's Instagram outlet site. It seemed too good to pass up and once it arrived it was obviously way more than I'd ever need for a string market bag*

* although I have made one out of the leftovers - yet to be photographed

I found a free pattern online called Grace in Lace by Drops Design, which is the pattern arm of Garn Studio who sell yarn. I swatched my yarn and from memory I went down a half a hook size and it was pretty close to correct. I made a size smaller than I measured as I think the swatch was still fractionally bigger than intended.

If I'm sounding vague it's because I made the dress during winter. I would often find myself sitting up watching the European cycling on the TV late into the night anyway, and it was easy to be doing something with my hands. How long did it take? Certainly all of the Tour de France, and possibly most of the Vuelta a Espana as well.

I followed the pattern dutifully until I was below the part where the sleeves would later attach. Then I made my own increases and decreases, trying it on every few rounds. I wanted it to be tighter and more sheath fitted than the original pattern which is almost A line.

I also added more length in the mid body section so that my waist line detail was actually at my waist (it's quite high on the pattern) - I later discovered the downside of this was that I couldn't wear hold-'em-in nanna pants underneath as they'd show through. Rightly or wrongly I also decided to forego a bra. With not much underneath and Melbourne plunging us back into cold weather I was grateful for the venue having heating and awnings to keep the wind out!

Not owing a nude coloured shoe I decided that if my dress was $35 worth of string, my shoes could be a treat. I found these Charlotte Olympia shoes at the Luisa outlet and they are something else. I've nicknamed them my measles shoes as they're covered in spots and the heels are sharp enough to vaccinate someone.

And then, when I was visiting one of our event Sponsors, Torb & Reiner, I found this equally pockmarked piece of leather and decided I had to have it to make an Ida clutch (free pattern from Kylie and the Machine)

Back when Kylie was finishing up with selling kits to go with the clutch pattern I cleaned up on a sale of the hardware. Happily, I had the tan zipper, the D ring and clip and the tassel maker thingy all in my stash.

To complete the theme of everything beige to go with my green dress, I even found some little stone earrings at a shop in the city on the Saturday afternoon just hours before Frocktails.

So, you could be mistaken for thinking the only sewing I did for Frocktails this year was a small, leather purse....

Did you see the shirt that our photographer (my friend JB) was wearing in the first picture? Well I made three of those!

Lisa (my co-organiser and preserver of sanity) and I decided that we needed assistants for the door this year. Someone to help with checking in tickets and drawing prizes and then handing out the stash bags at the end. Lisa was suggesting some discounted tickets to people who wanted to come, but I thought we needed totally disinterested parties who did not want to be there! that way they wouldn't get distracted by old friends, pretty dresses or sewing chat. they'd just do their job... Who better than husbands! Meet our doormen for Frocktails 2019!

We convinced out own fellas and one other mutual friend (who's partner was going to be attending anyway) to be our doormen. Lisa's man prefers a fitted T-shirt (for obvious reasons!) to a shirt, so she made his top. I sewed three shirts: two for the doormen and one for the photographer.

We had the fabric printed by Next State Print, also one of our sponsors, and it's a cute little detail of our logo on a grey background. I used the Liesl & Co All Day Shirt and made Flipper (left of pic) his usual size L and the other two a size M.

It was quite a job keeping all three piles of shirt bits separate so that I didn't sew a L collar into a M neckline. I work on a square dining table. One place was my machine and the other three seats were for each shirt. I would work around the table doing the same step to each shirt before moving on. By the time I came to sew all 36 buttonholes and buttons my machine finally blew a fuse and died and the last 5 buttons were sewn on by hand!

I bought some extra Kylie and the Machine labels to sew into the guy's shirts!

While I was waiting for the fabric to be printed, and so that I wouldn't start second guessing the crochet dress, I also made Flipper a pair of trousers. They're a mystery wool blend from a local Vietnamese fabric shop.

The pattern is the same Jutland pants I'd previously made in a drill and this time I thought I'd line them. Something went disastrously wrong and they were way too small. He literally wore the drill ones to work and then came home and couldn't squeeze into these. I've no idea.

Anyway I took the lining out and then used every bit of seam allowance left to make them bigger. I also ended up stitching the front pockets closed as they were tending to gape. I'm less enamoured of the pattern as the instructions for lining and the zipper fly was disappointing. It would have you baste the lining to the trousers and then construct the fly - but that means all that ugly fly flap construction ends up visible. I pulled out the Liesl & Co Hollywood Trousers for the perfect lining/fly instructions (but then had to pull all the lining out anyway)

I also feel that the pockets need some kind of pocket stay that anchors them to the midline fly section so there's no tension on the pocket opening. Either that, or I needed about three sizes bigger! :)

All that said, how gorgeous do these guys look!

I think they had fun, and having them there made the evening so much easier for Lisa and I. Although, with 150 guests I still don't feel like I managed to chat to even a tiny portion of the crowd, and those I did chat to I was so busy talking I failed to notice their outfits. I'm only now catching up through all the pictures I'm seeing on the #melbournefrocktails Instagram page. Thank heavens for our photographer!

And then the guests arrived! There are so many wonderful photos, but similar to last year there were lots of lovely blue/greens, so we all piled in for a picture. The backdrop at the Hophaus bar was just too good!