Friday, August 12, 2016

Formal Sewing~Zara First

T'was years in the planning...
Formal sewing Peoples!
The year 11&12 joint formal is held biennially and it is a combined schools event hosted by a different school, each time.

Zara and Elsa have been chatting about ideas since Hugo's.

Young adults in the country have limited chances to attend functions so this is very special occasion. For some girls it is a massive deal with spray tans, professional make up hair and several dresses purchased and discarded.

For the young men, hiring fancy cars (group share) to take them to the venue can be their treat.

Jed and I were very happy to purchase the tickets and pay for the dresses but as the Twins are very talented with their own hair and makeup we advised them to save their money.
They agreed, somewhat begrudgingly, however I think they did a gorgeous job and saved them selves several hundred dollars.

As a reward, Jed and I shouted them the tickets to the Open Access formal in Adelaide, the night before.

Two very late nights but I think it was well worth it.

Zara had very definite ideas on her dress. Backless, long and sparkly.
Originally she had a vintage Vogue pattern chosen but then she found this one that had a wrap over look that she liked.
Lekala #5896
Slight problem, this pattern is made for a stretch fabric and it meant to be a fitted swim suit cover up sort of thing.
Time to muslin!
The first one fit Tildy.... (yes Matilda).
I ended up adding two foot to the centre back fold line and three to the length.
Much better.
The dress is basically a large rectangle with shaped arm holes, each end and thin straps you pop your arms through and wrap around your body.
The fabric was a very lucky find in Spotlight at Horsham.
It was marked at $25/m (very reasonable for all the detail) but was on special with a bonus one day sale thrown in at $4.50/m!
I purchased a tricot lining at the same time (again on sale) for around $3/m.
The worst part of sewing was removing the sequins from the seam allowances. The tiny sequins cut my fingers to pieces.
We had a couple of attempts at pleating out the excess fabric over her derriere.
Zara decided she liked one large pleat at either side of her waist.
We were both a little concerned she may bop the shoulder straps off whilst dancing so I added a back strap (attached with a large sew in popper).
I think it was a very sophisticated and elegant choice.  Zara looked gorgeous and she was comfortable and confident in her outfit.
As we dropped the Twins at the Adelaide Continental for formal-#1 I quickly scanned the other beautiful young women in their beautiful gowns.
I may be biased but I don't think my girls looks home made at all!.
~Zara's Verdict~
I absolutely loved my dress. It was absolutely beautiful. I felt like a real stunner. Mum did an amazing job. I was really happy with the shoes and jewellery that I bought. As well as being really grateful to a friend for lending me her MIMCO purse. 

Zara was a pleasure to sew for. She was very patient with my constant fittings and draping exercises as well as giving me lots of support and praise through out a rather stressful sewing experience.

Next... Elsa's dress.

xx N

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Winter Play Clothes

Apologies for the photo heavy post.
It wasn't her turn...
But somebody has grown!
Instagram can be hazardous to one's bank balance.
The lovely Jane and Fiona popped up this gorgeous fabric on insta and I snapped up 2m.
We have been tempted by The Drapery before.
I sewed this cute little Playtime in 2014.
Another Playtime by O+S  was long needed.
I made Tildy the size 6 with the length of an 8.
Tildy measures 4 but she is average height for a 7 year old.
Matilda's signature heart shaped buttons, coconut shell sewn with pink silk.
And for some sparkle... bugle beads hand stitched to one of the clouds.
''I will have to get undressed sensibly Mummy or they will scratch me'' #tildyspeak 
I used a scrap of stretch poplin for the pocket bags as I was eking out the fabric.
It has plenty of room for growth.
It is layering perfectly on our Winter holiday.
~Matilda's Verdict~
I like the sequins on the cloud. The dress is very warm, even when I go outside to play.
I like wearing it with stockings and my fluffy boots.
I really like the bit where Mum has sewn two different clouds together.
I think this is even better then my sheep-y dress.
I like the 'crinkles' (gathers) around here (gestures waist).

With the leftovers...
I made some After School trousers.
Tildy's pair from Summer still fit just fine so I went with the size 4 with the length of a size 7.
I had to use velvet for the pocket bag and some lawn for the pocket lining as I had nothing but tidbits for mice leftover.
I topstitched the pocket bags in place.
I love all the details on these trousers.
And they are an awesome fit on a skinny child.
~Matilda's Verdict~
They are nice and warm (worn over stockings in chilly Bendigo).
I like the colours, I like the patterns on the clouds, they are good colours.
I like the frills, they are tricky. They make me think the back pocket is at the side.
I like them being tricky.
I think these would be good school trousers in blue. It has to be blue to wear to school.

And the top?
More leftovers, more gorgeous fabric from The Drapery
Hugo purchased me 1.5m of the luscious Merino knit for my birthday.
I made myself a Plantain tee  (which I have not blogged yet) and had enough to get this School Bus tee and I *think* I may get a tee for Trixie too.
The cloth is very fine but very warm and not scratchy at all!
After sewing in the sleeve I noticed I had snipped a hole in the shoulder.
I darned it but it still looked like a hole, just a darned hole.
As I had the vinyl out for the groovy elbow patches a la Plantain, I cut a wee heart, held it in place with some double folded sticky tape and stitched it in place.
I originally cut ovals for the sleeve patches but they looked too big.
It is a child's top so I went with the simple circle shape.
I used the placement of the Plantain sleeve to get the position right and placed the sleeve on Matilda to make sure I had it at her elbow.
It was then I realised the sleeve would be a bit short so I added a cuff.
Tildy has flogged this on our holiday. She has worn it four times and it still doesn't needs washing.
Wool is a wonderful fibre for repelling dirt. An air before the next wear and a sponge down of any stains and it is good to go!
I love hand-me-downs.
The tee and trousers look awesome with a jumper I made for Hugo, from some wool mix knit, 15 years ago!
It had a huge hem that I let down so it is like a tunic on her.
~Tildy's Verdict~
I love my matching t-shirt to Mum. It is not itchy at all. I like the heart, I like the elbow patches.
I am glad Mum made a mistake.
It is very warm and sand brushed right off.

They are getting a good work out on hols.

Thanks for reading xx N


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Half of a Canadian Tuxedo...

So, I am doing this capsule wardrobe thang!
And I needed a denim shirt.
Image from Witchery website
I really like this one, I saw on Witchery.
Sadly, no longer available 
I really like the mannish style with the front pockets and sleeve straps.
After trying on Hugo's shirt I determined, apart from the sleeve length, it was perfect!
Who knew I had such a masculine physique?
I used some soft denim from my Magic Pudding roll of cloth, top stitched in copper thread and with reversed MoP buttons.
(I didn't fancy the metal press studs on the inspiration shirt)
The back yoke is nice and high, it works well for my narrow shoulders and the shaping works well for my thicker waist and  hips.
The fact that you can roll up and button the sleeve is not that noticeable.
Which I like.
But it looks very groovy and IS totally practical for a mum that has her hands in water, on and off, all day!
I just love the sleeve placket.
How lucky is this fit? I am definitely checking out more mens shirts patterns.

I love that it fits my shoulders.
There is some back puddling but as it is just a casual shirt I don't really mind.
I am thinking about side vents for the next one.
And maybe pocket flaps?
~My Verdict~
It is crazy how often I have worn this shirt. Being a light denim it is warm but breathes so I don't get hot.
It is long enough I can wear it over leggings as it covers my backside.
I can hang it up and air it and get another days wear, no problems.
(I am embracing the apron when cooking and cleaning and my clothes are staying much cleaner. Less washing means clothes last longer and better for the environment)

I have worn it under cardy's and worn it undone, over a singlet, as a light jacket.
I have worn it so much I am seriously considering making another in pale denim.
What do you think?

Thanks for popping by...

xx N


Sunday, June 26, 2016


Or G&T's, if you like.
Boozey jokes aside, it is what I wear most days.
So it makes sense to find a go-to pattern.
Last year, I had a good run with the Ginger jeans. I wore them constantly.
If you are new to jeans sewing I cannot recommend this pattern enough. The instructions are fantastic.

A few life style changes (more exercise) and some minor health issues (nothing serious, just gall stones) has resulted in some weight loss.

As I had nothing to wear that fit me nicely anymore (even though I have lost my baby weight my middle has thickened) it seemed the perfect time to embrace the capsule wardrobe.
First up, some Winter tee's.
After reading several excellent posts I decided to give the Plantain tee from Deer and Doe, a go.
I made three.
A black, cotton/lycra (from eBay) with black vinyl elbow patches, a navy cotton/modal (from Eliza's of Sunshine) with silver patches and a black and white stripe cotton/modal (from DK's Fabrics) with black vinyl elbow patches.
I have grey, nude and white versions  ready to sew once I change threads.
My went by my bust measurement as I like tummy ease in my tee's. 
If I used a firmer knit I would size up but I really like the fit with this very stretchy cloth.
I added an inch to the hem but that was my only mod.
I may shorten my sleeves a wee bit.
As I tend to have my hands in water most of the day I find I push them up.
3/4 length would just make more sense.
My boots are from Emu  and sheepskin lined. Another item I constantly wear.
My pearls are a gift from Jed, from the Hamilton Sheepvention, he brings me something home each year.
The scooped neck is lovely and very flattering on me, even wearing my horrid feeding bras #droopyboobsofinsta.
After hearing about Bootstrap patterns on the lovely Lara's blog I decided to try them myself.
I really liked the concept of a made to measure pattern as I cannot find RTW jeans to fit me.
I did find the measuring process a bit tedious and just a little confusing. I would advise pulling out a pair of jeans you own and check things like zipper length and knee and ankle dimension.
My initial pair were far too wide at the waist (as my lovely Insta friends were witness too).
I am not blogging my alterations as, after re-measuring, I realised Zara had inadvertently added 25cm to my waist measurement.
Thus user error, not pattern error.
The instructions are very professional and the results are very very professional but I would still recommend the Ginger jeans instructions if you were a bit nervous.
I sewed them up in some very stretchy denim from here.
I think the secret to jeans sewing is the topstitching 
I used this thread in the top spool and matching, poly rasant thread in the bobbin.
The sewing was slow and chuggy and I had to use a needle threader to thread the needle eye but it was worth it.
My second pair, I topstitched with white jeans thread.
I added pocket flaps and decorative stitching to exaggerate my lack of junk in my trunk.
While I researching sewing techniques I found this article.
Now I am not sure my bum looks 'amazing' but it does lift how flat it looks.
I raised the zipper by an inch on this pair and I think it looks better.
Last pair for now, a gorgeous black coated denim with black topstitching.

This pair is my favourite.
This photo really shows how well the pattern allows me tummy room but fits nicely through the bum and thigh.
I couldn't be more pleased.

~My Verdict~
I am sold on sewing my own jeans. Why would I even bother buying them? They never fit, they cost a small fortune and shopping is a pain.

If you are thinking of sewing your own, go for it, I am happy to help!

Ditto with the tee's. I love the fit, the fabric is lush and even the pricey stripes worked out at under $20 for the tee (with enough left to make Trixie something)

I am pretty happy with my efforts and my capsule wardrobe is coming together very nicely indeed.

Thanks for reading
xx Nicole