Monday, 30 March 2009

3 for 1

So there I was, wandering down the street after having a fantastic sushi lunch at Makoto (highly recommended!), when I saw a familiar name on a sign. Tessuti Fabrics! I had no idea where they were located, but have been following Colette's blog for awhile now, so this was a pleasant surprise.

Tessuti has some gorgeous fabrics but a sign saying 'Vogue Patterns - Buy 1 Get 2 Free' caught my eye. I thought it was a misprint since most places have half price sales at the best of times, but I was happily proven wrong. I had a couple of patterns in mind to buy that I had been uhmming and ahhing about, but with the discount it seemed silly not to take advantage and maybe even by 6 for the price of 2!

Unfortunately, it was not to be. Out of the 8 patterns I selected, only 2 were available! I picked another 4 and got lucky with 1 of them, so I walked away with the following:

Standard: Very Easy

This is a cute button down shirt that I have been eyeing for awhile. I think I would get most use out of the short sleeved version

Standard: Very Easy

This retro-looking A-line dress with short or mid-length sleeves really appeals to me - I can see it looking great for summer and winter, depending on the materials used to make it up.

Standard: Average

This is a 'wardrobe' pattern, meaning that although it is a little more expensive, it comes with patterns for a jacket, top, dress, skirt and pants. I am planning on ignoring the jacket for now - I think that is the item that has upgraded the level of difficulty to Average - and am going to try my hand at making the pleated top. If the pattern isn't too complicated, I'll have a go at the trousers as well.

What do you think I should make up first? I am currently leaning towards the A-line dress. More planning required for materials as well I suspect, but I need to check my stash at home first.

I might do a call around at the other stores to see if the other patterns I wanted are available in convenient locations (i.e. near me!). I've been hoarding patterns already, but this is such a good deal that I can't help myself.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Finally - dresses done!

So I know that in my previous post, I said I would work on my dress for my niece Princess S over the weekend and hopefully get it all done, but as usual, I let myself get distracted by all sorts of non-sewing activities. Always fun, but not so constructive.

Still, I had to get it complete before this weekend as I was due to visit Princess S and her parents - and visiting them means hopping on a plane so it's not quite as easy to justify putting the project off until the next visit - especially since little ones grow so quickly!

As you can see, it has a gathered skirt section, 2 ties to tie into a bow at the back, and a zip. The top section has been lined.

I found the following when making this up:

The embroidered cotton I had selected was beautiful to touch - lovely and soft - but also very thin, which means that I had to be extra careful. Any mistakes I might make could weaken the surrounding material and I didn't want to chance that since I had only enough to just cut out the pieces for the dress. It is gorgeous fabric though - I'd definitely work with it again but next time ensure that I have lots of extra on hand.

I used some thin soft white cotton for the lining and basic black thread and a black zip to complement the embroidery.

Pattern (Butterick B4701 : View B)
I liked that the dress was quite simple and that the instructions were easy to follow. My main issues with this dress was the fact that it required hand-stitching in a couple of areas - under the shoulder seams to tuck away the unfinished ends into the lining, around the zip to secure the lining to the dress and hide the zip, and another couple of spots to secure the lining to the inside of the dress. My hand-stitching skills are shoddy at best, and doing this took me almost as much time as it took to sew up the entire dress. Luckily, since the stitches are supposed to be hidden (more complexity!) you can't see how ugly they are.

I also managed to mess up the zip a little - when I basted the zip it, everything looked great, but once I secured the zip in with proper stitching there was some pulling at the base, and also the top parts of the dress don't match exactly. Frustrating, but I didn't want to undo it all for fear of weakening the material too much. I hope it's not too noticable but it is very difficult to be objective about something you just made.

Would I do it again?
Yes, definitely. In fact, I did! I tried making the dress in View A, with an floral peach cotton fabric. The difference between the 2 views is that this dress has a fuller skirt, whereas the skirt in View B is gathered. I thought the result was great - and lining the inside with the same material meant that it was less obvious if there were any issues with the zip alignment or under-stitching. I also tried my hand at adding some white piping (more hand-stitching!) to hide the waistband at the front.

Overall, very happy that both dresses turned out well - I think once Princess S has them on, any issues I have won't be noticable at all. The next time I make this dress up, I might just line the whole thing so I avoid the whole hand-stitching issue!

Friday, 20 March 2009

An outfit for S (Butterick B4701)

I have given up a little on making things for myself. With my body not being a perfect match to pattern sizes, I get a little impatient when I make something and then have to alter/tweak it, so I am giving myself a break and am instead making a dress for my niece, Princess S. The way I see it, kids generally either fit into clothes or grow into them eventually. No lumps and bumps to worry about.

I bought this pattern awhile ago - it looks simple enough and quite pretty for a little girl.

There doesn't seem to be a huge difference between the 2 dresses - the design diagram below just shows that one is gathered and the other is just cut as an A-line skirt.

I've bought some bright pink cotton with an embroidered black border edging - I plan on using this edging as the bottom of the dress rather than hemming it - and due to not having a huge amount of it on hand, I'm going to go for View B.

I'm also going to use white cotton to line the inside rather than the pink. Hope to get this done by the end of the weekend.

The Hard Stuff

I generally don't like taking medicine, but if I am sick enough to have to miss work, i will go there. As a contractor, no work = no pay, so if I can't get out of bed, it's a double whammy since sick leave isn't part of my employment contract.

So this crazy flu is giving me headaches like you wouldn't believe. I went to see a doctor in the hopes that he would dose me up, but his advice was to take Cold & Flu tablets. 'Cold & Flu tablets??' I thought with a sneer. Fat lot of good they have done me in the past.

Still, I was willing to give them another go. Little did I realise that some flu tablets were superior to others - I was given some Codral Cold & Flu tablets, but the box looked a little different to what I remembered seeing. Care factor was low, I just wanted to feel better.

Feel better I did, and off to work I went. All was well until Day 2, when I forgot to bring my pills to work. I thought I was feeling a lot better but around 3pm it was all going downhill. Turns out the pills must be pretty good after all, so I thought rather than sit there in pain, I would re-stock on the pills.

The local pharmacy didn't seem to have them, but after some questioning, it turns out that there are 2 kinds of Cold & Flu tablets from Codral - the ones on the shelf in the white box, or the ones that the pharmacist has to physically hand you in the yellow box!

All I can say is, if you ever need to take these kinds of tablets, go for the yellow box. My only fear is that since these pills merely mask the symptoms of the flu, after I am done with the recommended doseage I might end up back in bed again. I guess I'll find out in a few days.

In the meantime, *hurrrah* for

And no, I have not been paid to say that.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Tweet tweet

I just got myself a Twitter account. Not sure why and no idea if I will use it but meh, thought I'd have a squiz and see what the fuss is about. Seeing as I have flu-head and cannot think, I have gone as far as getting an account name, finding ppl on my gmail email list who have accounts, and registering my mobile (for what I am not sure) before logging out.

Anyhoo, feel free to add/stalk/follow/whatever it is ppl to other ppl on Twitter - account name is '_suboo'.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Slow progress on Vogue V8229

Apologies in advance for the poor quality pics - I like to work into the night so lighting is never great at 3am ;)

I decided to make the Vogue V8229 dress after being inspired by Christina on her Assorted Notions blog. I thought all 3 versions of the dress she made looked great, and based on her experiences I wanted to try my hand at making my version in a silk to avoid it being potentially sack-like.

I managed to get some beautiful blue ex-display silk from Darn Cheap Fabrics at a decent price so I was quite excited about the whole project.

Cutting out the pattern wasn't too difficult. I decided that since I didn't want to have a ruffle at the bottom of the dress I would extend the body sections down to my knees so I could play around with the length. Also, I generally don't wear anything above the knee so I was hoping that the additional length following the line of the body would just magically look great.

After putting all the pieces together (and also making wonky darts at the back of the dress as per the pattern) I put a zip in to see how it all fit together.

There are a bunch of things I am unhappy with at the moment:

1. Poor fit
As you can see, the stomach area of the dress looks terrible. I suspect that all the wrinkling there is due to the dress pulling around my hip section - the sizing obviously wasn't generous enough in that area. This is of course why people should make muslins first to suss out pattern sizes but I am unfortunately too impatient. Also, the thin silk isn't very forgiving so any lump and bump that shouldn't be there *cough cough* is going to throw the dress out as well.

If I can be bothered I am going take the darts out of the back and let the dress out around the hips at the sides and back. I'm just worried that the silk may not like being unstitched and will show little holes.

2. To puff or not to puff
I am currently undecided about if I want to just hem the sleeves as is and leave thm long and flowy (right pic), or make them puffy (left pic) as per the design. I am leaning towards puffy since I am quite disgruntled about the lower half of the dress and want something about it to work out.

3.Long vs not-so-long
I don't know if it is because of the poor fit around the hips but the dress sometimes looks very frumpy. If you compare the top pic to the second one, it looks a lot better later on due to me standing a certain way, but I can't imagine I'd be spending the whole day standing around just like that. An alternative is to show some leg (look away now if you can't stand the exposure!) but I'm not sure I'd be comfy walking around with something that short.

Trying to fix everything in 1 go will be too painful and will mean I won't finish it since I have a short attention span and will get impatient/frustrated. I'll just take things one step at a time, starting with the sleeves I think.

Worse case scenario would be that I chop the bottom and make this into a flowy silk top - which I think I may do if the silk shows up too many holes when I try to resize it. I quite like how it looks as a top so it's no big loss - and when I have another bash at making the dress I'll have a better idea of what to watch out for!

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

So many possibilities

There is something really satisfying about seeing new materials freshly washed and hanging out on the line. It really opens up the imagination around what one could make.

For example, the 3 in this picture allow me endless possibilities - although having said that I am definitely restricted by my beginner sewing skills. Still, the poly silver and gold patterned on the left will most likely be a practice wrap dress (I can allow myself to practice because I managed to buy that material for $2/metre *yay*).

It will help me to test out the pattern and upskill a bit in preparation for the real wrap dress to be made with the brown bunchy (and more expensive) fabric in the middle. The pretty cotton voile on the right was earmarked for a summer dress, but now I am thinking that it would be great to make a set of funky PJ pants for my SIL and my niece so they can have a Mummy-and-Baby matching pair. I normally wouldn't use pricey voile for PJs but it was on sale and would be so cute as a matching pair. The pic doesn't do the colours justice.

I sometimes get so caught up with the planning that I end up not doing anything with the materials at all since I can't decide what option to choose - hopefully something eventuates somewhere in the near future!

Sunday, 8 March 2009

By popular demand...

So OK, I have been slack at updating this. I have had my reasons, laziness being one of them ;P but also since I last blogged I have gotten a job, joined a gym and actually been enjoying exercise *shock horror*

Whatever my reasons, I have been instructed by Ee to update my blog for her entertainment so I thought I would give it another bash.

I am still on my sewing thing although I am now just buying lots of fabric and not doing much with it at all, which is kind of silly. I am contemplating blogging about all of my creations in an effort to keep myself motivated but I fear that if anything, the thought of having to do extra 'work' might put me off the whole affair.

At any rate, I've bought 2 dress patterns from Vogue that I am keen to try. Both are labelled as 'very easy' but I have discovered in the past that easy doesn't mean quick so we'll see how well I progress at these.

The first is Vogue V8229, which is a slightly retro dress with or without sleeves. I am picturing it made up with the sleeves, minus the bottom ruffle.

The other dress pattern I am considering is Vogue V8379. I haven't quite worked out if it is a wrap dress or a mock wrap dress - either way it looks like it could be a nice versatile pattern that I can use for a few dresses if the final product looks any good.

I spent $65 today on a bunch of fabrics, including 6 metres of ugly beige stretch knit to practice on before I cut into the more pricey fabric I purchased. I am hoping that the weather is decent tomorrow so I can wash everything to prevent future garment shrinkage. I must say that if you are generally impatient, sewing really isn't a hobby you want to take up - all the waiting and the time it takes to cut and measure and sew and unstitch (I do this a LOT) can be very painful.

Watch this space.