Pinkness meets Vanamo!

Recognize this fabric?

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How bout now?
The Pinkness

Yes, that’s right – this is the FAMOUS fabric that the amazing Oonaballona used in her Pink challenge for Project Sewn!!! :)

When I found out was the lucky recipient of “The Pinkness” I knew wanted to make something really special & I spent a lot of time thinking about it, and planning the perfect project to both express my own style & do homage to the great Oona’s fabric at the same time :)

After careful consideration I chose the Vanamo as my pattern: I adore clean, classic designs that show off great fit & fabric and I felt it would be the perfect way to let the fabric sing, and still be a silhouette that reflects my personal style.

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I absolutely love the marriage of the clean, elegant design, and intricate textural brocade.

The fabric is a poly brocade from Mood; it has a great texture & colour, on both sides – I actually had a hard time deciding which side to use, but settled on the blue as I felt it would fit into my wardrobe better.

I am admittedly kinda fanatical about pressing, so as the fabric is polyester I knew it would be tough to get a good press but vital to a good result, so I researched pressing methods for poly & discovered vinegar water solution – I just sprayed it before pressing & it works a charm!

The downside of this lovely fabric is that it is SUPER fray-ey, so I serged every edge but the serged finish pulled away in some places so the insides are not perfect. Also the skirt insides are imperfect as post-sewing fit adjustments I made on the side seams (due to turn of cloth) meant that the facings no longer fit. Still, I’m very happy with the outside of the garment as I took extra care on the fit & finish.

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*** I apologize for the lack of modelled photos: my hairstylist has been off sick for several weeks & I desperately need a cut! Will update with modelled shots when I get them ^_^ ***

I love the pattern’s covered zip detail & clean finishing. I love the curved hem at the front of the skirt as well; it’s a beautiful detail that elevates the classic pencil skirt to the next level. The pattern is an excellent draft; just my regular FBA & waist adjustment was all I needed on the bodice; it fit perfectly across the upper back without adjustment, even with the stiff fabric.

I also love that Named’s printed patterns don’t include seam allowance; I much prefer thread tracing seams & adding my own SA (FYI the PDF versions do include it) – for me I find thread tracing both satisfying (like romancing my fabric before getting into the serious sewing relationship lol) and much more accurate.

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So I confess: I have had a HUGE crush on Named patterns & their sleek stylish aesthetic for some time; I’ve bought several and have them in the queue but this is my first I’ve sewn… next up is the Andy Coat; stay tuned! :)


Sweet sweet fall

While others mourn the passing of summer, sunshine & heat, secretly I’m rejoicing: I’m a fall girl through & through, and I just wanted to take a moment to celebrate all the reasons I love this season most of all :)

Rain
Cool fresh air
Sleeping soundly
Fuzzy blankets
Cosy sweaters & socks
Great jackets & coats
Wearing tights & boots
Hot soup after a long day
Jammies & hot chocolate
Foggy mornings
Cold sunny days
Bonfire smell in the air
Waking up to the sound of rain

There are so many more but it’s only the second day of fall & I have lots of time to celebrate :)

I’m a little behind finishing my summer stuff but I’m hoping to have it mostly wrapped by the beginning of October and THEN!!!! Oh I have plans my friends…. hint: wool… lots of it ^_^


FINALLY!!! I have a body double!!!

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I won’t go into the 2-month saga that went into her acquisition, or the complete halt it put on my sewing… all I’ll say is now that she’s in my life, life is SOOOOO much better!!! :)

So what shall I call her? ^_^


Experimentation & Personal Style

I’ve been quiet on the blog lately but busy nonetheless. I’ve found myself wandering down a lot of rabbit holes lately, as is wont to happen when one is part of an online community; I am inspired by what others are wearing, new patterns released, trends and so forth, and despite me knowing what’s best for me, I sometimes need to try new things out.

There are goods and bads in this, for me. The main bad of course, is that I spend a lot of time constructing garments that I ultimately find uncomfortable or unflattering, and thus, unwearable. The main good is that I’ve strongly reinforced in my mind what I really love wearing, and also what really doesn’t suit me.

Lessons learned:

BAD: I recently made both the Colette Moneta and Myrtle, both of which feature a softly gathered elastic waistband which does absolutely NOTHING good for my figure, despite how pretty and flattering they are on seemingly everyone else.
GOOD: I like the Moneta bodice & the Myrtle skirt, and i do like wearing knits, so if I can splice them together without the elastic waistband we may have a winner.

BAD: I recently made two different pair of pants – both with a slim fit & side zip; in addition to the numerous woes we all feel when attempting to fit pants, the realization is that I simply cannot comfortably wear anything at or higher than my waist; I just hate the way it feels & looks. Also, personally, I think invisible zips on pants is just stupid. Maybe it’s just me but I break them every time.
GOOD: I’ve identified the main few fit issues I have with pants & I think if I stick with low rise styles I may be able to get at least wearable (if not perfect) pants block with a bit of work – and that would be spectacular because I do love pants :)

GOOD: I recently made the Papercut Patterns Midsummer’s Night Dream dress out of silk I got in Australia & it’s wonderful; I totally love wrap & V-neck bodices. Will post soon.

BAD: I stink at the narrow hem foot lol
GOOD: I have a narrow hem foot, and the more I practice the better it gets; even imperfect edges look pretty decent – and less fussy than bias edges on delicate fabrics :)

In conclusion, while I don’t have a lot of tangible successes lately, my mind is more focused and I have a clearer idea of what I need to spend my time on. I’m working on three projects that are much more my own style so I hope for some successful, blog-able projects soon :)

And since i have no garment photos to show, here’s a photo of lovely white fabrics I’m working with – perfect for this summer heat!!

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Deer & Doe Sureau

My first Deer & Doe pattern! So as usual I’m late to the party… but at least I came dressed well! LOL

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First of all I have to say, I love this dress! I loved making it, and I love wearing it – it’s comfy and pretty in an old-fashioned kind of way :) In fact, I found myself feeling a little out of place when we went out because all around me were girls wearing short shorts and skimpy clothes, and here I was wearing this quite modest dress :P That’s ok, I’m not exactly one to fit in with the crowd – haha ^_^

The fabric is a pretty Japanese cotton that was a dream to sew, and press, and which makes me so happy to wear – I love the colour and I love the print – pretty but not too sweet :)  The fabric was 55″ w so I only used not quite 2 yards, which means I have some left over for a cute skirt or top ^__^ (LOVE it when that happens!)

Not being a super big fan of gathers round my waist, I traced a sz 38 on top & 34 on bottom to reduce the skirt fullness & gathers. You can see how I somehow managed to still get a bit of poofiness in the front, so I will probably reduce the skirt at the waist to match the bodice waistline for future versions :)

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As per usual, of course did an FBA – I used Paunnet’s tutorial but rotated the dart amount into gather area, and added extra length to button placket. I think I may not have needed to do such a big FBA because it’s a little gapey in the front, but that’s easy enough to fix next time. Also I think the waist could be nipped in a bit; it’s kinda loose, but again – easy to fix next time. Better too big than too small! LOL

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Looks like I have to switch to summer sewing soon – the sunshine is returning! :)


Elisalex – No Such Thing as “Overdressed”


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When we were shooting this dress in front of the apartment building, one of our neighbours came out and asked what we were all dressed up for, and we answered “Just cause we feel like it!”. He either thought we were cool or very very weird – either way, I thought it was appropriate – after all, Elisalex doesn’t believe in the concept of being overdressed, right? :) We followed by having dinner together in a local (fairly divey) Chinese restaurant, whereby everyone there in their jeans and ratty clothes stared at us while their dinner got cold and we discussed finances and video games LOL.

This was my first time sewing a princess seamed bodice – weird right? What took me so long? I initially did an FBA following the standard method for just extending the princess seam at the bust point, but I had made the muslin from a fabric with a slight stretch because my initial fabric was going to be a stretch sateen. When I decided to use this fantastic Radiance silk cotton from Hart’s Fabric, I knew I needed to revisit my FBA and ensure it was going to fit perfectly. I wasn’t sure how to do a fairly big FBA (4″!!!) but found this great tutorial by Mary from Idle Stitch & it worked like a charm! :)

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I’m really proud of the fit on this one – I worked really hard to get it just right; even Maz commented how well it fit! :) Of course I did another muslin after the second FBA (as always) which confirmed the bust was a great fit, but I then had some pretty major back gaping so I took out a 1″ wedge from back bodice to correct this. Three bodice muslins in all. Then I made a muslin of the top part of the skirt, and forged ahead!

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I only had 2yds (preshrunk) of the fabric to work with so I took 9″ off the hem, which actually worked out perfectly because I prefer my dresses either above-knee or maxi length, so this was ideal. The fabric was a bit lighter weight than called for, and if it was 100% silk, it probably wouldn’t have worked because it would be too soft and drapey, but the silk cotton was PERFECT as it added just enough crispness to hold those box pleats and the unique tulip shape of the skirt :)

As for the pattern; it is drafted really well, and the instructions are very clear. I thought the method for lining bodice was explained particularly well; I like the easy finish on the side seams – clever! I did need to look up the BHL sewalong to see how to finish the lining, as there were no instructions for v1 in the pattern instructions.

I’m particularly proud of the zipper installation – I’ve had some major issues with invisible zips lately, and it looks like we might be able to be friends again. I got a perfect seam matching at waist, and painted the zipper pull to match the dress fabric, as I had to use a light grey zipper.

I also spent a fair bit of time and care adjusting the pleat placement to match the princess seams in front and back, and I’m happy with how it turned out.

And here’s my brave and wonderful photographer, also looking very sharp!

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Maria Denmark – Pernille dress

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So I’ve never made a Maria Denmark pattern before but as soon as I saw this one, I knew I HAD TO have it; it’s knit (so it’s comfortable), plus it’s my preferred kind of silhouette – a nice slim pencil skirt with a semi-fitted shape. No gathered or full skirt here! Not that I mind one occasionally but they seem to be rampant lately, and honestly, they’re not the most flattering on me, so if I use a pattern that has one, it requires me to re-draft the skirt bit to make them work :) Not so here – it was a nice easy make!! :)

Conveniently the dress comes in two different versions, one with regular sizing and one drafted for a C cup. I started with the latter, so I wouldn’t have to do as big an FBA. I did do a traditional FBA, for this, as per usual – sometimes I can get away with just grading sizes if I’m using jersey, but I was using ponte & it’s not as stretchy as jersey. I debated whether to keep the dart in, and I could have in this fabric (the back has darts to give it shape) but I decided to just try easing the extra length of the front into the back piece. No problem – easy peasy!! :) The only other alteration I made was to make the sleeves longer (again with the monkey arms LOL)

The pattern was well drafted, instructions clear, and even being a dress, the pdf pattern didn’t take much paper to put together, so I felt it was very well designed. It’s a great basic I’d love to make again.

If we’re honest here, I should be calling this the Dress that Almost Didn’t Get Blogged, because I only wore it once before the weather got too warm to wear it. So I finally decided to wear it just for photos the other day, but it was super hard to photograph; it almost caused a small war in our household but got it done in the end LOL – only one photo was decent, but one is enough (even if one has to screen out the very attractive apartment in the background LOL).

It’s definitely a great work basic & is warm & comfortable for rainy days; of course, as I mentioned, just as I finished it our weather fined up & I haven’t been able to wear it; now I need summer dresses! lol But the next time it rains, you better believe Pernille is gonna be my first go-to :)


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