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

Wednesday 14 June 2023

Belated bigger birthday dress

The blog now segues from a knitted one year old birthday dress to a sewn 12 year old birthday dress, but the order is all out of kilter. Actually it was as I was sewing some 15 year old birthday pyjamas today I reminded myself I'd never posted about the summer birthday dress....

I'd been about to let the tradition of a birthday dress go, but she asked (nicely) for a light blue dress with thin straps to wear over a white T-shirt as a roller skating dress for her party.

We went through the pattern stash together and eventually settled on the Liesl + Co Tribeca knit cami lengthened into a dress (Size S from memory).

Of course light blue knit fabric was about the only thing missing from my stash, but Fabric Deluxe had just what we needed with this lovely rib knit.

A nice simple make that worked perfectly for roller skating

Or just hanging out at the rink with friends, scrolling on phones...

While I don't mind being told what to make, I do also like to create a surprise when it comes to birthday dress sewing. So I added a second dress

This one is a Liesl + Co Metro Tee (Size M) lengthened and with A-line flare added to make a T-shirt dress. 

The fabric is some leftover silver spotted T-shirt knit that I know will wear fairly quickly but seemed fun to use. Previously turned into a Frocktails knit dress for me and a knit Building Block dress for her

And, of course, a little Silhouette Cameo rolling skate themed iron on. Birthday sorted.

Thursday 1 June 2023

A little challenging: vanilla dress

I do love a challenge and if it's small and the price of failure is low, even better.

When my Frocktails co-organiser Lisa's little baby was about to turn one, it seemed the perfect opportunity to try knitting a cute little dress. That it would only take two 50g balls of yarn made it too tempting.

With some Knitting For Olive merino/cotton (colour: dusty artichoke) from The Yarn Bowl and the Vanilla Dress pattern from Knitting for Olive, I was off.

Right from the start there were some new tricks to learn. The neckline is started on a crochet chain and then an I cord bind off is done to create the neck edge. Neat and easy to follow.

I was going great guns until I got to the main lace pattern and then I couldn't figure out how the stitch count worked. It was Easter and I was out in  the country at my folks place. A quick help-needed post to Ravelry and I had a reply in a time that would put emergency services to shame. They explained how to read the chart without necessarily starting at the farthest right and ending at the farthest left - the only way I'd read a chart up until this point.

I think I'm getting the hang of it now.

Then I went and rolled my ankle at a mountain bike race - I got off to walk a tricky downhill section and failed at walking! Loud crack, monstrous swelling and pain and I had to hop out of the bush with the St John's guys and Marshals half carrying me. More time to knit, I guess...

The next challenge that was new to me was to knit the little sleeves in the round on double pointed needles.

I have a gorgeous set of KnitPro Ginger interchangeable circular needles, and a matching set of KnitPro Ginger single pointed needles. Obviously I needed to complete my needle stash with the Ginger double pointed needles.

Knitting with double pointed needles was a bit like wrestling a spider with tetanus to begin with. Eventually I worked out how to hold the needles so it was less like Pick-Up-Sticks and more of a continuous, smooth action.

And then it was finished. Nothing beats a baby sized garment for a somewhat immediate result!

It was blocked on the day of the first birthday party which I couldn't make it to as my ankle was nowhere near good enough for driving.

But just last weekend I caught up with Lisa and baby Cleo and gifted it. I hope it fits!

Having finally got my head around the pattern and all I learned from it, I'd jump at the chance to knit it again in a bigger size for next year. What a great experience.

Tuesday 30 May 2023

Men's (almost) Metro T - Part 2

No sooner had I made Flipper his mtb trails T-shirt than I had a request from the big kid for one too.

I obliged, of course, but not before making a plain long sleeved T first, cause that was the bigger wardrobe hole that needed filling.

This is the Liesl + Co Metro T size M with, from memory about 8cm extra body hem length and 10cm extra sleeve length.

Photographed quickly on the way to lacrosse training with the long pole he got for Christmas. Did I tell you I strung the head myself? Not such a hard task if you're a crafty type. Thoroughly enjoyable if you have a post Christmas lunch glass of champagne and a quiet place to sit.

The T-shirt he really wanted though was the athletic knit with the favourite Strava trails on it...

This is the Strava bike map of his favourite ride in the Mystic mountain bike park up in Bright. If you know the tracks you can probably name those loops just looking at the photo.

I kindly gave up the 2nd 1m cut of athletic knit from Maaidesign, even though I'd earmarked this one for myself. He wore it to lacrosse training on a warmer evening and was rapt, like being nude but with clothes on!

For the transfer I used the Silhouette Cameo again, but this time used a generic brand iron-on transfer material in a holographic silver. It looked great, but in the very first wash it almost all peeled off. It wasn't the application to the fabric that was the problem as all the glue was still adhered, it was the bond between the silver layer and the adhesive layer. I picked off the few bits that remained stuck fast and now there is the faint glue shadow outline of the original artwork, which I've been kindly told looks kind of cool and subtle.

Meanwhile I let the company that I bought it from know and they've refunded me. Only trouble is I have half a dozen other sheets of this iron-on transfer in other colours and I guess I'll have to reserve them for non-washable type projects.

Good thing I insisted on photos before it hit the laundry basket!

Monday 22 May 2023

Men's Metro T - part 1

Have I told you I bought myself a Silhouette Cameo cutting machine?

I'd borrowed one from a friend ages ago and went crazy making T-shirts for the kids with iron on vinyl designs and one supergirl outfit! I gave that machine back to the friend, and every year or so afterwards I would do another little bit of online sleuthing as to whether the Silhouette or the Cricut was better. Eventually I decided on the Silhouette Cameo 4 based on two things: More freedom to create your own designs and import graphics into designs, and a deeper cutting depth. I know I'm not about to go cutting cork or leather right now, but I sure as heck don't want to not be able to should I decide I want to!

Armed with a new toy I had a sudden urge to create something. Turning to the household head of IT, I asked what he'd like on a T-shirt. "Tabs or Spaces" he replied.

Apparently that's a defining choice amongst code writers. Obviously I had no clue and needed to be instructed as to the graphics that would represent each word.

What I did know was that the T-shirt would be the Liesl + Co men's Metro T in XL as per every other one. Easy. 

He requested navy or dark blue as the colour. That I didn't have, but I'm not above shopping for fabric when the need arises ;) I found this perfect dark blue remnant, about 90cm size, at Fabric Deluxe and I suspect it's a bamboo blend? It is a lovely fabric.

The iron on vinyl is a Silhouette branded one that is a metallic blue and changes colour a bit with the light reflecting off it. Subtle yet bright, and super cool.

Here's the household IT guru in his natural environment: horizontal with laptop

This photo is taken at my parent's house. When he's not to be found napping on a couch or deckchair he'll be out on the mountain bike trails near their place.

After visiting for many years, it's in the last two or three years we've discovered a great network of single track just out of town.  I think when visiting the in-laws involves unlimited GnTs, couch naps and singletrack there can't be much to complain about right? What's that? I'm told we need to get rid of the veggie garden and put in a pool.

Anyway, back in January I had the idea of making him a T-shirt with the Strava map of the local mtb trails on it. We were up in Bright so I dropped into Maaidesign to visit and pick up some of her lightweight athletic knit fabric.

This time the transfer is a metallic silver (still Silhouette brand) with the folks' home town GPS co-ordinates, the fire-road drop in and then about 60km of sweet singletrack meandering. That's his happy place in T-shirt form.

Here we are coming back out of the bush along the fire road with the lure of coffee and cake in town...

Tuesday 16 May 2023

Gr6 graduation - Adora style

If the dress request had come after the falling out of love with the pants that were soooo much work, the answer would have been quick and brutal. 

She must have caught me when I was riding high on the wave of having made the exact pants she'd asked for, and having been proven right that graduation was an event that called for a fancy outfit, rather than yellow cargo pants. Of course I could, and would, make the dress.

The brief: A deep red dress with overlay just like this one that the cartoon character Adora is wearing.

I was somewhat relieved by the dress design, as my memories of the 1980's version of the cartoon She-Ra was that she wore nothing more than a fur bikini and a sword.

There weren't many images of the back of the dress, and A declared she wanted it to be backless. 

I had one pattern that looked like it might fit the bill. A vintage one-size, sleeveless shift dress with rolled collar. Butterick  4379 I made it for myself in 2020 to attend a 50th birthday party. The theme was hawaii/50s/bright, and I figured this pattern in some wax print would fit the bill. Needless to say the party never went ahead. My dress has only been worn once on another summery day and this is the only photo of it, and please ignore whatever my face is doing. For a much better write up of the pattern, and in anticipation of me never getting around to add it to my blog properly, go check out Lower Your Presser Foot. 

Anyway, I tried that dress on A, and if we took about 2" depth out of the chest/armscye it wasn't a bad fit. I knocked up a muslin version in some cotton to see how the backless modification would fare. Meanwhile hitting up all the online stores again to try and find the right fabric.

It was Supercheap fabrics to the rescue once more with a satin backed crepe and matching georgette. The colour was a bit deeper than desired, but the need to have the two fabrics matching was more important than it being the exact shade of red.

The final version had more tweaking on the go and was very much pinned to fit then adjusted a bit as we went along. Thankfully a gold elastic belt was readily available at the local shopping mall. Done and ready for the proper graduation evening.

Monday 15 May 2023

Gr6 graduation cargo pants

I'd be getting an F for the lateness of this assignment if blogging about a sewing job was actually a requirement. Instead I'm giving myself an A+ for execution, and a "highly commended" for my positive attitude in the face of an unimpressible tweenager....

Late last year, as the end of primary school was coming up, A put in her request for her "graduation outfit". She wanted to wear a black button up shirt, under her favourite pink jumper with a pair of yellow cargo pants.

Since she had zero chance of finding yellow cargo pants anywhere in a shop, she realised it would be worth her while asking nicely....

I quite liked the idea of making her cargo pants, even if I didn't entirely understand the outfit's appeal. In my head, the "graduation" was an evening affair and this was an unusual outfit, but I wasn't about to become the fashion police.

There's a lot of tasteful mustard shades of heavy cotton drills or denims out there, but she wanted a proper buttercup yellow. I found this lovely, soft, cotton drill online at SuperCheap fabrics and it fit the colour brief perfectly. I also clicked on their black, lightweight cotton for the shirt. The quality of that fabric is not so nice. If it ever gets worn, and then washed, it might soften up. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's stay in the happy zone where I'm enjoying making exactly what's been requested of me.

The shirt is the Liesl + Co Recital shirt, with the collar from the Classic Shirt. These two patterns are designed to go together in a mix'n'match sense. I made a size 2 as per her chest measurement but it's probably a bit tight across the shoulders and upper arms. 

I didn't have a women's cargo pants pattern and she was very keen on the Waffle Patterns Azuki workpants - in reality I think she just falls for everything Yuki designs when it's included in one of the awesome little sketches she does.

The pattern is fabulous, and the only quibble I have is that I bought and paid for the printed pattern. What that actually entailed was receiving a copyshop print out of the pattern, but still only getting all the instructions digitally. I'm a fan of a nicely printed instruction booklet, or a pattern in a packet. This was a bit disappointing and should perhaps be advertised as a "printout of digital pattern".

I made the size 40 pants and followed the pattern suggestion to baste the pants pieces together to try them on before taking them apart again and adding all the pockets etc. Kind of like making a muslin with the final fabric. Fine, so long as you're likely to err on the side of too big.

She wanted every pocket and extra option on these, and I think the final count was something like twelve pockets! I added some rivets as I went, and I suspect I even snuck a label under a pocket edge somewhere although it's not visible in any of these photos.

The only adjustment to the pattern was to take a bit of height off the back yoke, and bring it in closer to the lower back, and then shorten the waistband to match.

The little pouch bag, which contributes 3 or 4 pockets to the total pocket count is removable and attaches with press studs. 

She was absolutely in love with these pants when they were finished. She wore them dog walking and at every opportunity. It took all her willpower to not wear them immediately before graduation day so that they would be washed and dry and ready....

The day came and she even managed to talk me into driving her to school so she wouldn't need to put her bike helmet over her hair-do. I insisted on a few photos before we left, but something caused the happy yellow pants mood to evaporate. Since the blog is about my sewing, and to be fair to someone who was having a bad morning and who is actually quite beautiful, I've cropped her face out of all these pictures. 

For a much younger, and very cute, refresher on what the "death stare" looks like: try here.

We got to school in the car, only to see everyone else arriving still in regular school uniform. Nobody's mood was improved by this and my only suggestions were either; I would provide a note explaining she'd misread the process and assumed it was a casual clothes day, and I'd deferred to her as she's usually more on top of this kind of shit than I am, or, I'd drive her home, get myself to work on time and she could get changed and ride back to school and be late. She took the latter.

The pants were worn again, a bit later, on the actual end of term day which was a free dress Friday.

Meanwhile, I'd been informed that "graduation" was actually an evening affair (ha! I knew it!) and could she please have a dress just like the one that Adora wears to the prom in the update version of the She-Ra cartoon.

Are we all sighing deeply and counting to ten in unison? 

But you know I went back for round 2 don't you?