Wednesday 20 December 2023

Holiday sewing

In September we had one of those "once in a lifetime" holidays. Only it wasn't a one-off, but an exact repeat of the holiday that Flipper and I had in 2006. Sometimes a really great trip needs repeating.

I'm over at the Oliver + S blog sharing all the Liesl + Co patterns I made to take on the holiday with us, including gifts for our kayaking guides. Go check it out. The pattern count numbers 6 Metro Ts and 2 pair of Wynwood swim shorts. Plus, I also took my Sintra Dress and my Cinema Dress on holiday.

Just before we left the big kid realised he's lost a pair of swim trunks somewhere, so he got two new pairs of Ottobre Seamus (03-2009) swim trunks

And he'd also outgrown his boardshorts, so I added two new pairs of the Jalie 2678 boardshorts, again with a cargo pocket addition.

Our kayaking trip was a 7 day trip paddling in the Yasawa islands of Fiji with Southern Sea Ventures. We revisited the same village that we'd stayed in 17 years earlier and even met some of the same people again. I can't begin to describe how great the trip was, the company, the guiding, the ocean, the people.... Can't possibly show you all the pics, but here's a selection from each day...

Our guides were so fabulous. Semi, the Fijian local was quietly funny, always organised and calm and just the nicest, hard working guy. He wore an amazing palm frond hat that his mum wove, so I made him a kayaking T-shirt with his hat stencilled on it.

Russell, the Canadian guide is too awesome for words. It only takes a quick look at his Instagram (seriously, check this out) to realise that paddling tourists around the Yasawas must have been pretty dull, but he never showed it. He was funny, organised, hard working and always up for anything. Bit like Barbie there seemed to be nothing he hadn't done, or couldn't put his hand to trying. He impressed P with being a box lacrosse player, wowed A with his ability to pull of a gymnast backflip and all of us when the guitar came out and of course he could play and sing. But, BUT, he couldn't whip cream*  when it came to our dessert at Navotua village. And that alone will never be forgotten! :)
*the lack of a whisk or beater shall not be mentioned

Of course his kayaking top needed to have a white water kayaker and a whisk on it!

I added the hood from the Jalie skating skinsuit pattern 3135 (all my previous versions here) but sadly didn't think of how much higher the neckline is on that pattern than the Metro T I was using. I got P to try in to before I posted it....

And oops, the hood pulls far too much when it's on. Ah well, it can still be some kind of a back of neck sun protection even if it can't be worn.

After the week of "roughing it" (seriously, we were so well looked after, but composting toilets and no internet still counts, right?) we crossed Fiji to stay on a little island just off the coast from Suva. Toberua island resort is a tiny resort with just a dozen bures around a central pool, a dive shop and a beachside restaurant/bar. Everything is catered and during the morning the staff would find us, bringing the menu for lunch and dinner. The barman recognised Flipper from 17 years earlier! P did a pool dive then joined us for his first ever scuba dive. We all ate too much, drank too many mocktails/cocktails and played all day long.

I'd argue this is a once-in-a-lifetime holiday that would easily stand up to a third round!

Tuesday 5 December 2023

Classic white shirts

Way back when I first made the Liesl + Co Classic shirt (here) I promptly went on the search for the perfect fabric to make a white version. I found the fabric, along with a couple of others, and stashed them. Good ideas never go away, so three year later I have some new shirts.

The impetus to finally make the shirts came from having just finished knitting myself a shawl (blog post coming soon) and suddenly deciding I needed a plain white shirt to wear it with.

However, before I made the shirt I decided a white shirt would need a pair of black ponte pants to wear it with. I actually made them first and then never got around to photographing them. They're the same Vogue9284 pants that I'm wearing in the photos above, although these initial navy ones are definitely too short. I added length to them to get the new black ones the same as the brown ones here

The shirt is the Liesl + Co Classic shirt. I added 2" of length knowing that I wanted to wear it over slim pants more like a tunic. I also added 3/4" to the sleeve length.

This fabric is a divine cotton with a tiny herringbone weave stripe. It adds just enough texture and interest to prevent it looking like bedsheet fabric. I found it at Phillips Shirts which was the first place I went after making the original Classic shirt, knowing I'd find what I wanted there or nowhere.

Of course I found more than one fabric I liked, and so while I was contemplating this shirt, I also decided I needed another Recital pleated shirt.

This one hasn't had a photoshoot of it's own, but I've worn it heaps and snapped a few selfies. It's also a shirting from Phillip's Shirts, but must be a poly blend as it doesn't come out of the wash in a bad state at all, and that's great for someone like me who hates ironing.

It's a very pale, ice blue with a tiny woven pattern. Again I added a little bit of sleeve length (and then always wear them unbuttoned and turned up anyway) and 2" of body length

It was the knitting that prompted the shirts, and the shirts that prompted the black pants. All of which are well loved garments now.

Details: Liesl + Co Classic Shirt and Recital shirt
Fabric: Cotton and poly/cotton shirtings from Phillips
Size: 10
Modifications: 2" body length and 3/4" sleeve length

Tuesday 21 November 2023

Melbourne Frocktails and another Vogue 8904

Ever since 2016 when I made Vogue 8904 (aka the shingle dress) for the first time (blog post here), I'd been keeping my eye out for the right fabrics to make the sleeveless multicoloured version.

Sometime in the middle of this year I found myself at a Fibresmith open warehouse sale and there they were; five different colours of knit fabric, all of the exact same weight and make and the same stripe width. It was finally going to happen.

I squirrelled the fabrics away to wait for summer, and then, as Melbourne Frocktails was fast approaching I thought, why not? A raw edged, easy to sew and easy to wear, singlet dress is exactly what this busy party organiser needs.

Secure in the knowledge that I'd already sewn the dress pattern once before and it would be barely a day's work, I decided that Melbourne's untrustworthy weather might require something warm and I started panic knitting a cardigan. I finished it about 5 days before Frocktails and just as a heatwave hit the city. C'est la vie. Needless to say, it didn't get worn and will have to be photographed and written about another day.

Of course that left me with a few evenings spare leading up to Frocktails so I zoomed around to some beadshops and bought 11/0 Mizuki Delica beads that exactly matched my fabrics and made this little bracelet.

Having just come back from a holiday to Fiji, the banded stripes remind me a little too much of sea snakes! I'll have to remember to write a blogpost about the sea kayaking trip and the sewing that I did to prep for it. It was amazing. The holiday that is.

Having the pattern pieces already traced from the previous dress, it really was quite a quick and easy sew. This time, being a bit smaller than in 2016 I sewed exactly as per the pattern sizing and used the 5/8" seam allowance as directed.

Here I am with my Melbourne Frocktails co-host Lisa. Her dress is all kinds of amazing with handpainted silk and a laser cut leather belt and necklace that references lyrics to a song her husband wrote. I truly don't mind being outshone and I was happy in my comfy singlet that left plenty of room for cocktails and canapes! Play to your strengths kids. :)

Super exciting news is that we had the Guardian Australia come along and here's a link to their write up of our not-so-little-anymore cocktail party! Click on the picture below for the link

Monday 19 June 2023

And for me: Butterick Lisette B6626

After wrecking my ankle in late April, I figured I could try sewing with my left foot.... The sudden impulse to sew something just for fun had me rifling through my pattern and fabric stash. I wanted a new winter dress for myself. Something quick and easy to make that I could wear, with my moon boot, out for my own birthday dinner.

Enter Lisette / Butterick B6626 and some long stashed ponte knit from Rathdowne Fabrics.

It took me a little while to get around to some pictures, hence the moon boot is off. I can stand in these boots but not yet up to walking in heels or jumping in sneakers. Sigh.

It's hard to see the design lines of the dress in this print. It's a bodice with princess seams and an invisible side zip, with a half circle style skirt.

I measured almost exactly at the size 16, but on a hunch that Big4 patterns almost always have too much ease, I went with a straight size 14. I sewed the bodice tracing pieces together to check the bust position and fit and it looked fine. Straight in with no adjustments and the whole dress came together very quickly.

The neck is finished with a really nice neckband and facing and then a little bow at the back. I used a plastic snap under the bow instead of a hook and bar closure

I bought the fabric at Rathdowne Fabrics after I picked up the ponte for the Hairy Green Clam dress. After wearing that dress I decided the thick, spongy ponte was such lovely quality I wanted more. This was the only other print I'd liked and I'd long kept it wondering quite what pattern it would suit. This one it turns out!

Pattern: Lisette / Butterick B6626
Size: 14
Modifications: none
Fabric: Ponte knit from Rathdowne Fabrics