Thursday, January 31, 2013


... the water bearer!
So this dress incorporates the design from page 56 of Pattern Magic 2, by Tomoko Nakamichi.  It is described as "a flip turn draped design tie appears from the slit in the front bodice for a complex and beautiful effect."
When I was playing with ideas for the Aquarius theme I had in my head; I imagined that front panel as a swimmer shooting out of the watery waves that are embroidered around the hem of the dress, up the front of the dress, and diving back into the water at the neckline.  Yeah, I do occasionally have an overactive imagination....  :)

To represent the Aquarian waves I embroidered a running stitch sine wave around the lower hem of the dress, and on the full-length front panel.  I originally had lazy-daisy water droplets going down the side of that front panel too... but the family veto-ed that one,  thought they were naff.  Hmf!  :D
I do like the visually peaceful hypnosis of sine waves.  Design-wise I've used them before.
And Aquarius is sometimes represented with a waves vaguely reminiscent of sine waves too.
The deep blue fabric is slightly rough and slightly crinkly cotton from Fabulous Fabrics.  I absolutely love this stuff.  It feels like it's going to be so comfy and easy to live it.  When I found it in the store I bought some in each of the four colours!  This blue is the first piece to go under the knife scissors  :)

I really like this longer length too.   I've already got a few short dresses and I wanted to go with something different this time.  I think it's quite elegant, and the proportion of skirt to bodice lend the dress a more graceful and refined silhouette.

Dress; partly self-drafted, based on the flip turn design from page 56 of Pattern Magic 2, by Tomoko Nakamichi, blue cotton
Sandals; la soffitada Gilde, from Zomp shoes

Construction blah blah blah...
I drafted the dress a little differently from that suggested in the book... in this case I gave the dress a long darted true A-line skirt with satisfyingly deep deep inseam pockets.  To fit the back skirt to my slight swayback, I sewed modified darts in the skirt, and folded pleats in the bodice at the same position.  This allows the bodice to blouse out nicely from out of a fitted waistline.  The front skirt and bodice have the same dart/pleat thing happening.  This is a waist-slimming trick  ;)
It is photographed here on Bessie who is bigger than I am, so it does blouse out more blousily on me.  The back of the dress is quite plain...
The dress is put on and taken off with a long invisible zip in the left side seam, and that long front panel is invisibly stitched down to the dress at the waistline.
The front neckline has to accommodate the flip turn tie, so I finished it with a narrow hem.  The back neckline and armscyes have interfaced facings.  The bodice slit has been finished like a letterbox opening, with a hemmed rectangle of facing fabric.  Like a welt-less and pocket-less welt pocket, if that makes any sense.  After wearing the dress for a few hours the pokey-out end ceased diving obediently into the water, and instead kept slipping sneakily back inside the dress, so I anchored it firmly in position on the inside along the sides of the letterbox opening.  It's not going anywhere now!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Taupe is dope

Actually, I think the colour of my new ballet flats and scarf is more ecru than taupe, but the name printed on the side of the shoe box was "taupe".  So I'm running with it.  Seeing as not much at all rhymes with ecru.  
But whatevs ... shoes!  in one of my favourite colours.  Or is that even a colour?  :)  I'm thinking these are almost animal print.  What I love is that what "looks" like a spotty print is actually little irregularly shaped perforations in the leather, providing natural ventilation for hot sweaty feet.  That's a real plus on hot sticky days like we are getting.  Win!
Technically speaking, the new "scarf" is just a wide strip of soft, silk/linen jersey knit bought at the Morrison remnant sale.  I originally thought to make lingerie with it, but now I've decided that I could well use a soft little summer scarf in this non-colour.  Well the colour is perfection incarnate, no?  It exactly matches the ballet flats.  So, it has migrated from the stash and into the wardrobe, and is getting worn.  Yes!  Wearable stash!   I don't think this counts as stashbusting, but...  ;)  I might still use it for lingerie.  Mebbe, mebbe not.  I'm still thinking about that, but in the meantime it's doing fab as a scarf.
I do love a light airy scarf; so fantastic for protecting the decolletage from the notoriously harsh Australian sun.  If I'm driving I often rearrange it over my right arm, and it's amazing how effective it is at keeping one cool, just keeping that direct sunlight off.
The latest addition to the Navel-Gazing Fashion Blogger's Society photo collection.

Top; Vogue 1247, details here, made of cotton dyed by me, my review of this pattern here, and see this top styled in 6 different ways here
Skirt; Vogue 1247, made of stretch denim then dyed,  details and my review of this pattern here, and see this skirt styled in 6 different ways here
Scarf; remnant
Shoes; c/o Misano

(if you're new, I've pledged to wear only clothes handmade by me this year and to sketch my daily outfits in my Fashionary.  I'm calling this the paper doll project)
Some more navel-gazing; this time about the outfit fourth along... (seen first here) this was one of my earlier refashions from Wardrobe Re-fashion days.    This is one that I sometimes forget to wear, because it is "old", isn't conventionally pretty and is even a little strange...  and sometimes I have to wear a thing for a day to decide whether I still love it or not.   But whenever I do wear this skirt and top ensemble I'm reminded how much I do love slightly weird clothes.  I think I want to get back to making interesting things again.  
Anyhoo, I decided again that the men's shirt ensemble is definitely a keeper.  The same cannot be said for something from the previous week, which I am taking the scissors too... pretty soon  ;)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Blue marle jersey and creamy lace set

I'm very happy with this latest set, I just feel like I am getting happier with each one!
The bra is made using KwikSew 3300 (my review of this pattern here), the undies with lace across the top are my old faithful McCalls 2772, and the other pair with the two diagonal strips of lace are from a pattern copied from a rtw pair.
The latter is very cute, it fits somewhere between a bikini and a boy-leg style, a hybrid of the two.  The construction was a bit more involved than the McCalls bikini but it's nice to have some variety.  I really liked how the back leg edge is on the fold, a bit different and a really interesting feature.
The set is made from a blue marle cotton-mix jersey (leftovers from this hoodie) and a lovely creamy lace, with creamy yellow lingerie elastic throughout and cream satin ribbon bows for decoration.  The lower bra cup is lined with a thick-ish, stable, non-stretchy knit (leftovers from this skirt), and the bra centre piece and underwire casings were made with lightweight beige cotton voile (leftovers from this top)
The bra sewalong organised by Amy has been absolutely brilliant! If you are new to sewing lingerie I highly recommend checking out her detailed posts on construction.  Her passion for lingerie is sincere and very inspiring!  I've been keeping up with everyone's fitting stories on the Flickr group, and the advice and tips given have been invaluable.

The nitty gritty about my bra; this will be of interest to my fellow lingerie nerds only....

This is the sixth time I have made up the KwikSew pattern, and the first time as a 32A and without a moulded cup insert.
I lined the lower cups with a thick-ish, stable, non-stretchy knit; overlapped with and then sewn to the seam allowances..  This gives a bit more needed oomph to that flimsy blue jersey fabric..
The straps: usually I go with a plain, non-adjustable bra strap relying on the stretch inherent in the fabric to provide the ease factor....  (did someone just say "slacker!"?)  this time I followed the instructions and interfaced the straps, then satin-stitched a piece of elastic to the lower back ends to allow for the stretch.  Here's where things get creative.... my elastic options (and well, everything else too) are kind of limited here in Perth but I do still want to stubbornly but loyally support my local shops.  My lace is a lovely ivory creamy colour so I chose the "skin tone" lingerie elastic to go with it.  But the lingerie elastic is not very heavy duty on its own and I worried it would not stand up to strains of bra strap duty.  So I zig-zagged a strip of more heavy-duty, braided 8mm white elastic to the back.  This provides hidden strength, and the colour from the right side still matches everything else in the set.
The straps are adjustable... and if there is one thing I'm super disappointed about it is that the only sliders I could get are pure white... not happy, Jan!  To my eye they stand out like a sore thumb.
For the same reason (limited colour choices) I had to choose a one-hooked, hook and eye closure; this being the only size available in cream.  I'm actually fine with that, not being of a figure type that needs heavy-duty support in the chestal region, ahem.  At least the colour matches!  I just trimmed the back pieces to fit.
I cut the centre piece backing and the underwire casings from small scraps of beige voile, and yes, I did obsessively switch between blue, beige and white thread so that the stitching matches the fabric.
I used cream-coloured satin ribbon to stabilise the lace upper cups, the same ribbon that I used for the decorative bows on all three items.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Broderie anglaise

Fulfilling a filial request....  Cassie wanted a pretty little sundress for some upcoming parties.  Actually she was totally planning to make this herself, honest.  Well, that's her story and she's sticking to it! but her new career has left her with not as much free time as she thought she would have.
Ahh, the disquieting little thought-readjustments that come with one's first full-time job.  
Fortunately she has a Mum, willing (sorta) and able to step in.
The pattern is from Burdastyle magazine 05/2010, dress 114; a pattern I have used before to make this sundress for myself, and  Cassie has used the same pattern for herself once before also.  It is an utterly fantastica design for very hot weather; cool, practical, comfortable and pretty, and we have each independently and joyfully discovered that our dresses never fail to draw compliments.  Subsequently, Cassie wanted another.  Well, when you're on to a good thing....  ;)
I made the same modification to the back bodice that I did to my own dress to give complete lingerie coverage.  
The lower tier is sewn to a separate, slightly shaped lining piece, which is sewn to the bodice lining and which lies underneath the top tier.  So in this latest version of the pattern the two tiers are completely separate from each other.
Cassie chose the fabric, two different types of broderie anglaise cotton voile from Fabulous Fabrics, and I used a little of my precious horde of plain white cotton voile too.
The buttons and butonholes on the bodice whilst functional, are essentially decorative; since the dress is put on and taken off with a long invisible zip set into the side seam.
Above; note the ubiquitous hair-lacky bracelet.  I frequently wear one of those myself, too.
Voila, we have party dress.   Ees time to part-ay.

Dress; Burdastyle magazine 05/2010, dress 114, slightly modified; of white broderie anglaise, my review of this pattern here

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Blue denim dress; 6 different ways

I made this cotton denim/chambray dress using Vogue 1152 about two and a half years ago.  It first appeared on the blog, along with my review of this pattern hereand it has always been a favourite player in my wardrobe.  The fabric is hard-wearing and casually comfortable, crinkles naturally and charmingly.  Comfort dressing, yes!
It's appeared here on the blog a whole tonne of times already, in daily outfit photos, in the me-made months.  In this year I've pledged to wear exclusively my own handmade clothes bar the shoes, these are some of the ways in which I can mix and match the dress.  
Actually, up until now rtw tights or maybe gloves have slipped into the equation... but not this time!  Whoo hoo!  I have linked to the construction posts of everything else I am wearing here.

At left;  committing the double denim crime... I'm wearing the dress layered over with a chambray shirt made of the same fabric, my scrumply Pattern Magic charcoal grey, spiral leggings and ankle boots.  Below right; what's this? double denim again!  Worn with my denim-look tights, green knitted hoodie and knotted blue scarf.  Incidentally, who ever said blue and green should never be seen?? I wear blue and green together all the time!  
Below left;  yes, well, I do love the layered look  :)  Here, a longline lace skirt does petticoat duty underneath the skirt, and a classic navy blue silk blazer pulls it all together smartly.  Raspberry pink sandals add a touch of cheerful colour.
Below right; for a more casual ensemble, this little jean jacket hoodie gives a more laidback sporty vibe to the dress.  It might not have appeared on my blog every often, but this little jacket is a favourite of mine already!
Below left; I do like to wear dresses over jeans sometimes, how they become transformed into a tunic. The colour of these ivory flared jeans picks up and accentuates the four rows of ivory piping on the bodice of the dress.  Below right; blue-and-green together again!  The dress is actually quite low-cut, so if I am going out where actual people might see me I will often stop to grab a scarf to throw on over the decolletage.  Adds some interesting colour, and saves blushes!  In this case I'm wearing two scarves twisted together to get a bit more colour happening... turquoise silk chiffon, and cobalt blue knotted jersey scarves.  Green and cobalt ballet flats echo the same colours.
These are just some of the different ways in which the dress can be mixed and matched to suit all the seasons.  Today I'm wearing the last aquatically-hued outfit, with the blue and green scarves and ballet flats, and I'm looking forward to wearing the others as the weather cools down more.  I'm rather chuffed that I could come up with all-rtw-free, workable outfits that I actually like!  

Monday, January 21, 2013

I've been pruning...

... and a day of tidying up the garden leads to one very happy outcome.  No, wait, make that two very happy outcomes... the first being of course a nice, newly neat and tidy garden.  The other is lovely big new FREE floral arrangement for the house!  Doesn't everyone keep the prunings for a really big and dramatic floral extravaganza?  Seriously if, like me, you are not a prima ballerina, then this is the best way to get gratuitous and regular fabulous floral displays happening in your house.
My outfit today serendipitously matches the new floral arrangement; so I took another arty, hand-held, looking-down-to-my-toes shot of my outfit, like Kirsty did the other day too.  I'm thinking we should start a Flickr group together, and call it Selfie Foot-Shots, or the Navel-Gazing Fashion Bloggers Society, or something... 
Dress; Burda 8511, details here
Sandals; Misano
Nail varnish; Glamourpuss, BYS

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Drape-ity drape

I have made a new top and a new skirt!  and am combining the two new garments in one post; since they kinda go together so well and all, and actually the skirt is so... well, bland and basic that frankly it doesn't deserve its own post. My top is a modified version of the loose drape top, pattern no. 1 from drape drape, by Hisako Sato.  I used a soft slightly crinkly white cotton jersey, bought from the Fabric Store in Melbourne during my most recent trip.  Regarding the design; I really loved those lovely soft drapes of that front and back neckline, however, like JenC noted in a comment, this top made up as per the pattern is a ... er, raaaather revealing garment.  As in, very very revealing.  The photographs in the book have been carefully selected, but it's plain to see that the model is a hair's breadth away from being topless.  And more, the top would be falling off one's shoulders, only like, all the time
But I thought it would be pretty easy to alter the pattern to be less revealing while still maintaining the essence of those beautifully soft falls of fabric at the neckline.  I took out a good 20cm in width from the horizontal line of the front drape, and close to 30cm from the back drape, re-drawing in the armhole and side seams to be the same as the original, tapering out to the same hemline, and keeping those neckline edges cut straight on the cross so as to keep the self-facing as part of the same pattern piece, on a fold.  Terrific design feature btw, for those frightened of finishing knits this is an excellent easy way out!
Reducing the width has given me a top with the same flavour that attracted me to the original, but with coverage... yes, I may have some nice lingerie now, but I don't want to be modelling it out in public for everyone on the street!
The side seams are flat felled, and I hand slipstitched the facings and armhole bindings in place for a smooth clean look on the outside.  I also added lingerie straps to the shoulder seams inside to prevent the top slipping off my shoulders, since in spite of taking out a whole lotta drape it is still that kind of design!
And I'm very happy with the result.  Such a cool and elegant design.  I can see this being lengthened very successfully, to make a simply gorgeous little cocktail sheath; how lovely would that look? 
The skirt.  Less exciting.  But ironically, its the bland and boring stuff that often turns into the amazingly useful and versatile stuff too, though; don't you think?  The skirt is self-drafted, and identical in every way to this charcoal skirt from a few years ago, that has been utterly indispensible for layering and mixing and matching in my handmade wardrobe.  Indispensible, I tell you!  I used a piece of mystery fabric, part of the bundle given to me by my friend C from her late mother's stash, and it is also the leftovers from this little Pattern Magic jacket.  Thus qualifying it for an itty bitty stash-busting garment!  Actually the top was also made using an itty bitty piece of fabric, less than 1m, but since I bought that fabric only three months ago I don't know if it truly qualifies as "stash"  What do you think?  How long should fabric be in the stash before one can safely attribute it Stash Status??  One month?  Six months?  More than a year?
But the skirt is a definite stash-buster... goodness only knows how old that fabric is.  This grey side is the reverse side to that I used for the "wearing a square" jacket, a smooth, blue-grey colour, with a double-knit look to its texture.

Top; modified version of the loose drape top, pattern no.1 from drape drape by Hisako Sato, white cotton
Skirt; my own design, blue grey double-knitty type of stuff.
Sandals; c/o Misano

Saturday, January 19, 2013


How awesome is this Sew-asaurus Rex??!!!!!

I'm sorry, but this button is just too cool to pass up and I just had to have it on my blog... well, anime, you see.  Renders me helpless to resist.  Fortunately it has a great sewing-related concept behind it too....   oh I'm so in.
This is the brainchild of emsewcrazy at Tumbleweeds in The Wind and Cindy at Cation Designs, and the artwork is by Jen Sy.

I've committed to using at least two pieces of fabric from the stash per month, for the year.  Hmmm, OK.  I'm sure I can gather the strength to cut into and potentially ruin 24 pieces of my lovely fabric ... eek!     And do I even have 24 pieces of fabric??
One also has the option of abstaining from purchasing any new stuff too...  well I'll give that one my best shot but definitely no promises there.  Well, what if I see something utterly awesome????

We have monthly themes to work to.  Ordinarily I kinda suck at themes; any sort of sewing to someone else's say-so actually.  But January's theme is itty bitty stuff, like using up the little itty bitty bits and pieces of leftover fabric in your stash that are not enough for a full project by themselves.  Well, a good quarter of my wardrobe probably comes from scraps and bits of leftover fabric, so I'm pretty happy to go with that one!
In fact I churned through the bits and bobs part of my stash during the week; came up with some likely looking candidates and got a-snippin' and a-clippin' : results very soon .... stay tuned!

Some housekeeping notes: for several months now, and still; I am having a whole world of trouble with leaving comments on some Wordpress blogs... if you might reasonably expect some return comments from me, then please check your trash comments; mine may well have popped directly into there.  If you "un-spam" my comments then the problem should be fixed, for me too!