Monday, November 12, 2012

Foilage dress

Which way is the wind blowing? Well by the looks of my flyaways, it's a northerly, meaning warm weather is on it's way! Yay! 
I probably shouldn't say this as I know a lot of people rely on rain in our very dry and dusty country, but I was a little miffed to hear that the La NiƱa weather pattern is returning to Australia. I was looking forward to an endless blue sky sunny summer; a welcome change to overcast humid rainy summers of late in Sydney. Today I am not complaining though as it was a good day to get out onto the roof of our apartment and take some photos of my latest sewing project. 

 This summery knock up is a Vogue pattern V8784 wrap dress, view A, teemed with a synthetic jersey print of big flowers. The bodice is lined with white synthetic jersey also. I got this fabric from the Remant Warehouse in Botany along with a swag of other great cloth a few months ago. The place is the bomb, they have a huge range of quality funky fabrics, the staff are really friendly and helpful and it's all really cheap.

This was quite a learning curve for me, mainly working with this type of material and also adding a lining for the first time. I really like the contrast of the white lining with the green and blue and decided to created a piping effect on the sleeves and facings. 
I cut out a size 14 based on the measurements provided, however it was too big in the bust area and decided to do a 2cm seam allowance along the neck and front edges. I still think it's a bit big in the bust area, so will need to look towards a better fit for the next round. Perhaps I should look at creating muslins? I see a lot of people do this and it does make sense...

 View A is a full skirt as shown in effect here despite a grumpy face. Due to the type of jersey I used, it's quite a heavy drapey dress. I fear that it will start to drop further despite tape being placed in a number of places along the shoulder seams and front edges. I hope to get a summer out of it at least. 

Please stay sunshine and all things warm!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cath Kidston knows how to keep it practical

With out further ado, here is a specs case I made from the Cath Kidston Stitch! book.

Although I love making things, I love it more when I make things that are practical and I can incorporate into my life easily. This specs case has been perfect in achieving this for me. 

This is the book which started me on my crafting / sewing journey. It happened innocently enough. I was looking for a birthday present for a friend at my local bookshop and instead came across Stitch! which I bought in a flash, drawn in by beautiful and contemporary yet seemingly simple  cross sticthing and embroidery projects throughout. Of course with this purchase, I had to purchase many more things as I was a complete beginner. After a bit of deliberation and also despair from spending hours on a couple of other projects and finishing it by hand, only to realise it looked like a school art project a six year old made, I made yet another purchase...the sewing machine. The rest is history.

Back to the book - the projects are reasonably simple and provide clear instructions; most are aimed at beginners I would say. If you are a complete beginner in embroidery and cross stitching there is quite a bit of equipment that you have to purchase at the start to set yourself up to do the project and I personally think a sewing machine is essential for finishing the projects unless you have the patience and delicate touch to finish with your hands (both of which I do not possess).
There are a good range of projects to get stuck into with the familiar Cath Kidston cutesy style (some of it a bit too cute for me). Projects which standout  include the bargello and electric flower cushions, the specs case and the stripe mat rug which I intend to make this year. I was going to put up some photos from the book, but I got a bit scared looking at the legal page for Cath Kidston, so best to have a search yourselves if interested.

I haven't made anything recently from this book as I have found that this type of work really takes it toll on my eyes. About a two weeks in working on projects from this book, my eyes were red and raw from so much concentration and straining working tiny I have had to take it easy. Does anyone else find this with needlework? Any suggestions? I'll put up a couple of other projects from the book at some stage - such as the bargello cushion and iphone case. 

But in the meantime, here's a final shot with the specs case working it with my sunny's whilst camping a couple of weeks back. So.very.practical.

Monday, October 1, 2012

A mini break in the bush

 We got away for a few days over the Labour Day long weekend in New South Wales and headed south from Sydney for a couple of hours to Booderee National Park. I had been keen to stay at Green Patch campsite for some time after reading it is considered one of the best natural camp spots in the state. Obviously everyone else has heard this also. Last year in October I requested a site for Christmas time and received a big laugh down the telephone from the ranger who after getting over this very funny request told me I should have booked back in August! With this in mind, I called up earlier in July this year to book our spot for the October long weekend and was lucky enough to get in!

We got a nice secluded spot looking out to a bush gully with lots of shade. Lots of shade also meant lots of good branches above us where it seemed all the lorikeets and rosellas of southern NSW met to spend their daylight hours gossiping away. For those of you not familiar with Australian bird calls, they possess the opposite of a pleasant twitter and are more adept at unison. They settled down by sundown  however, and this time brought out the quieter nocturnal wildlife. We were visited by brush tail possums carrying their joeys on their back, wallabies, kangaroos and bandicoots! They were all quite tame looking for scraps of food which we strictly did not provide (processed foods are not good for native wildlife either), so we let them get on their way and hoped we wouldn't have to get into any man versus beast battles with any of them if they tried to steal food from us.

 Although there is lots to do in the area, we really did take things nice and easy and spent much of our time enjoying the varied and beautiful natural scenery. The most physical we got was our daily walks to Green Patch beach  to lay on the lovely white fine sand and watch people's reactions to taking a dip in the very chilly Jervis Bay (it does warm up).

One of the best things about camping is that it's totally OK to spend half a day (or more) laying in your tent or a chair with cup holders doing absolutely nothing!

This blanket was a Christmas present from my partner's 94 year old Nan - Mrs D who has many talents that I admire.
 I'm not sure how a place becomes known as the best camping spot - but I have to say it was pretty good and I can see the allure especially during summer time when the water is warmer. Other pros to the campsite is that it is small (only 20 or so sites), it's close to a nice coastal village, there are proper toilets, running fresh water and hot showers - which really is pretty luxurious for a National Parks campsite. This will be on our list to head back one summer, making sure we book early!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Practice run V1247

This is a trial run of the Rachel Comey Vogue 1247 pattern. I think I bit off more than I could chew with this one considering this was my first dabble into top making. Ridiculously slippery synthetic chiffon fabric, multiple converging french seams, first time working with material cut on bias, learning to do a rolled hem with said fabric were a few of the challenges I was faced with whilst completing this top. Nothing like aiming high...and then realising I'm way in over my depth. Thankfully this was a trial as I have some pretty lovely royal blue crepe de chine I want to use on this pattern and had some common sense to practice on something not so expensive.

Firstly, the inspiration for making this top lies particularly with the following versions created by a number of talented lasses:
- handmadebycarolyn
- sallieoh
- upsewlate
- mycatsew

The good:
- I really liked creating the french seams allowing for a nice neat finish
- For the real thing I'll be increasing the length a couple of inches as it's
sides sit a little too high on my hips. I cut out the size 12 and feel that the
overall size is good, other than the length at the hips.

The bad:
- It's obvious, the seams at the mega junction in the middle of the top don't
meet precisely. I'll need to do a few practice runs before committing
to my nice material

- completing the hem was a real pain, i kept unpicking it as I just couldn't get
it neat with such slippery material. The sides hem at each hip need to be
fixed up...still.

- I quite like the front view of this top, but when I turn to the side I look like
a wine barrel wearing a blue spotty top, so not that flattering - I'll be
reading up for some advice on how to improve the aesthetic from this angle -
perhaps a couple of rounds on the cross trainer may help too.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

My little darling

Despite completing this dress in May, I have only just now worked up the motivation and nerve to start a blog. I'll admit one of the reasons why I decided to take up this sewing caper was after seeing Paunnet's version of the very lovely Darling Ranges Dress by Megan Nielson. I was so happy to stumble across this pattern during my interwebs sojourns and this quickly led to many more moments eye balling other lovely versions such as Makes the things and Lindsay etc. I knew this was to be my first pattern to try sans patient sewing class teacher holding my hand and garment along the way. Brimming with overconfidence but not surprisingly little skill from the completion of my first basic skirt, I leapt into this project and gave it a good hot go. I'd be embarrassed for a 'real' sewer to glance over this; there are so many things wonky about the construction, but the style and fabric is generously forgiving - well I think so anyway. 

Everything was sourced from my local Spotlight store. The denim fabric was after my own heart when I found out at the counter it had been reduced to $3 a metre. I added watermelon satin bias to the facing and armholes (one of the aforementioned wonky jobs) and used some really cute art deco-y buttons to pick up the pink in the flowers. 

I found this pattern extremely easy and since exploring more commercial patterns, I have been yearning for the sweet old days back in May when this pattern and I got along like best friends and we understood each other completely. Commercial patterns and I are currently struggling - but I will persevere. This dress is super comfy, and I'm a big fan of the pockets. My hands are in them all the time.

 Hands loving the pockets

I learned a lot of new skills from making this dress and have a lot to practice to improve the wonks. Next time I'm thinking a lighter cotton one for summer. I can't wait to try the Banksia top by Megan Nielson also, I'm jumping onto the Banskia sew -a -long happening this month which will be a first, can't wait!