Fit’n’pleat dresses are so easy to wear!

18 Nov

 

A few years ago I made a frankendress of a princess-line top with this gorgeous sweetheart neckline, and a 1960s re-issue dress that I used for the skirt. I made it from that stretch-cotton sateen that Spotlight does so well.20160829_14311320160829_143118

The skirt is from this pattern. I love the collar though, too. One day I will make the dress as shown on the left. One day…

Butterick 5747

 

Oh my goodness did I literally wear this dress to death, it was so comfortable, and cool enough for all but the absolute hottest-awfullest days, I could dress it up or down, and collected compliments on it everywhere I went.

So I tried the same comfortably fitted bodice with a fuller skirt concept in more stretch cotton sateen. (I love this picture, you can see my mum taking the photo, in the mirror!)davdav

Boy did I get compliments on it. Design a print full of gorgeous flowers in colours that all suit me perfectly? Then turn it into a pretty dress that fit beautifully and I wore everywhere? Of course the compliments flowed 😀

I used my basic bodice, and the skirt from this dress from ‘Your style rocks’. Your Style Rocks’ was a great little site offering free patterns that is no longer around. I made the whole dress as pictured, when the pattern first came out, and the top just didn’t suit my body. But the skirt was gorgeous!

Related image

More! fit-n-pleated dress posts to come soon…

 

That time of year…

28 Oct

It’s That Time Of Year: the Build Up to our wet season. It’s not just hot and humid but really hot and humid. Soggy. Soooo……

Sewing for this time of year … floofy dresses!!!

I started making and wearing floofy dresses for the build up a few years ago, and it makes a big difference to how I cope with this kind of weather. Floofy is defined by no clingy fabric, no waist definition, though empire line is usually ok. And ruffles, coz they’re fun. But they also create a bit of swirl which helps keep things cooler too. Secret nighties.

Because things get washed to death quite quickly here, the floofy dresses from previous years were all worn out. So this year I started early to make more.

I’ve also gone through a pretty marked style change in the past year or so. I’m more into plain, textured fabrics than patterns. Like I said, HUGE change, after a lifetime of bright pretty, fun prints.

I sewed this dress earlier this year just for fun, but it’s also proved to be a great Floofy Dress. sdrsdrsdr

It’s based on this dress I found here. It reminded me of Anne of Green Gables, the outfit she was wearing when she climbed the roof and tried walking along it. I love Anne of Green Gables, and that dress and apron type thing, and since I am named after her (middle name) I thought I’d give it a go.

https://www.sondeflor.com/products/iris-blue-flattering-apron?variant=28199769345

This is actually a dress and apron. Only thing is, except for 3 weeks in the middle of the year (some but not every year) one layer of medium-weight fabric is all you ever want. Medium is best as lighter fabric doesn’t give you much sun protection.

https://www.sondeflor.com/collections/aprons/products/iris-blue-flattering-apron?variant=28199769345

So I set about trying to make a one layer dress that looked like an apron and under-dress. The dark blue is some of that gorgeous stretch cotton sateen Spotlight’s does a great line of. I thought it might be a bit heavy but it wasn’t, as the dress sits nicely away from my body.

Here I am in my dress, camouflaged in Spotlight behind the bolt of blue fabric it came from. The Spotties salespeeps are used to me being in camouflage, by now, and indeed help take photos like this of me in my native habitat.

sdr

The light colour/underdressy-looking bit is a craft cotton from their standard quilting cotton plains range. Funny thing, I went to so much trouble to get a cream that looked just right with the fabric, but didn’t sallow me out. Then forgot cool blue dyed fabrics tend to run. So the first time I washed the dress, in spite of having washed the fabrics separately before I sewed them, the blue ran and the cream went a delicate icy blue. Very nice! So not that perfect cream colour though 😀

I used this pattern, McCalls 6102, which has become my basic go-to block for shift dresses

McCall's Misses' Dress In 2 Lengths 6102

The ruffle round the top (which I decided would be cooler than the peter pan collar of the inspiration dress) is a simple long rectangle gathered on with a channel for the ribbon. I expanded the sleeve pieces to be puffed. Because Anne of Green Gables… ’nuff said?

The back section is a big pleat, that starts at the top of the dress, and the gaps that open between the buttons reveal the cream/ice blue fabric. Then I put a ruffle round the entire bottom of the dress, on the blue attaching it an inch or up from the hem on the inside to mimic an underdress.

sdr

I was so successful in making it look like two dresses I’ve had some fun having to explain it to people when I get the inevitable compliments.

Heroes of the past

14 Aug

You know how looking back you never forget some garments? Or you miss them once you’ve worn them out, even 10 yrs later?

I am still reading sewing blogs, over 10 yrs later. And I still think ‘Oh I should blog about my latest …. dress/shorts/top/hat/whatever.”
It’s been so long since I’ve blogged I can’t remember what I’ve blogged about or not. But looking through my photos I get that ‘Oh those! I loved those, still miss them!’ moments.
(And sometimes ‘huh? I made … what?’ moments too!)

So here’s a bit of a look in my photo files of past makes from 2016 I still love Top: fun and swingy and cool and frilly. Also semi-designed by myself. All totally Me!
The shorts are butterflies print which I LOVE. Salmon surprisingly (Given how cool my colouring is, goes with heaps in my wardrobe. These shorts are now threadbare, so they’ve retired to my Special Clothes I no longer wear but don’t want to give up box, for two reasons: I love them that much, and also they’re a snapshot of a healthy body size for me. I have many health reasons to keep an eye on my size, but happily don’t have much issue with it. However, clothes are a good record of what fit me when in my life. These fit at a time I was a good healthy, strong, size.

20160507_142102

Ma’at

Ma’at, my Hero, at the grand age of 3 1/2 has definitely lasted the distance. From a tiny kitten who booted her brothers away from the treats the RSPCA worker gave them, ate all the treats then fell asleep on my foot… fast coming into her own as a Grown Up Cat, Queen of the Household.
She still sleeps on my feet in my bed, and still causes mayhem where my sewing is concerned. Behold the half-grown Mischief Ma’at!20160528_145941.jpg

 

Both of these are heros!

The shorts: a rare foray into Indie patterns (hey I grew up on the Big 4, new or from op shops, coz that’s all there was. It’s rare an indie pattern is different enough from my existing patterns to be worth buying.)
Wearing history’s gorgeous Sunkissed Sweethearts shorts pattern. The shorts are semi-circular with a cute gathered dart, basically. LOVE!

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The top: why I rarely buy indie. Cute vintage patterns are 50c at my local op shop.

My top is a great colour, and perfect style – short and floofy and therefore cool. Mmm!

Vintage 70s Dress or Top Sewing Pattern by claudettesvintage, $7.50...I remember this from my teens

 

These pilates shorts. So cute! So much fun to wear! Cooler than close-fitting pilates leggings. (And the start of me posing for pictures in ballet poses – a friend told me I should, coz, you know, I’m a dancer right? *smiles* )

20160613_15494420160328_171049

 

The trousers: – white, elastic pull-on trousers with a simple lace trim. Wore them everywhere with everything, till threadbare. Every time I see them in a picture I think ‘I should make another pair. They were so awesome!’

(The top was another matter. A vogue pattern, I just almost never wore it. Too long, I thought, so I later cut it down to normal hip-length. Nope. Colour? Too much yellow? Too hard to match with other things?
The fabric was very romantic, the top has clean and simple lines. Perhaps the fabric needed a few more frills to do justice to the sweet floral?)
20160415_144807

Fun story though!? The woman in the background of this pic asked me where I got my trousers from? She then commissioned me to make her some in both black and white, and to adjust a few skirts to fit better. A nice little source of pocket money for a while there, without feeling that horrible pressure to sew to someone else’s creative sensibilities that professional sewing does.
She was also a lovely person and nice to have had in my life for the 6 months I sewed for her for 🙂

 

And, aha! See what I mean. She’s not just a Hero of my sewing life but become a perennial. She doesn’t fill any space her predecessor did, I still feel devastated at Hattie’s loss, I’m just more used to life without her.
But Miss Mischief Mayhem Mad Cat Mittens Ma’at has carved a huge place just for herself. And she’s still as hard as ever to photo. Either movement-blurred mischief, or fast asleep. I love her so much 🙂

20160427_170213

 

Dance shorts – exploring ideas

12 May

I love the ubiquitous double-georgette or chiffon wrap skirt for ballet class. It’s flattering, helps emphasis your line, helping you learn better, and provides a modicum of modesty.

But, ‘fession time… they can be boring as hell, too.

I have so much fabric I’ve bought to make little dance wrap skirts. I’ve made many, some I never used, so I gave them away to students and dance friends at christmas one year. I still have more fabric, and … er, now what?

Some dancers wear little shorty-shorts. I want!

Here’s some ideas I’ve been tossing round.

I love the whole vintage lingerie thing. Tap pants look like they’d be perfect for ballet too. This one, an Etsy download and print, would be so easy…. But I’m not a great PDF user. I love the idea but the sticking it all together bit tends to not happen. But still… this pattern wouldn’t be a big task, right?image 0

 

I have a pattern similar to this. It’s a bit short but I could add some lace, like this.

 

 

Slightly different again, but no less pretty! Another oh so easy to download but not so much to stick together PDF from Etsy… *dreams*image 0

 

On a more modern note, how cute are these?

YGYEEG Hot Sale 2018 New Arrive Women Sexy Hot Shorts Summer Ladies Casual Lace Shorts Low Waist Short White Solid Lace Shorts-geekbuyig

And these are just so me! except too short for my sense of modesty usually but over leotard and tights theyd be fun and probably quite flattering and … more cuteness.

image 0

Last but not least, these are actually sold for tango, but a shorter version for ballet would be terribly cute.

Silk and chiffon short pants by bugazDesign on Etsy

Well, since I have so many fabrics, both knit and woven, I’m sure I can manage to make all of these and then some. Ok I know I’ll get bored halfway through and move on, but hey, before the boredom sets in I’ll have some great, funky dance shorts!

Twirly butterflies

3 Feb

Yeah, so I figure, since I’m still taking photos of everything I make, I’ll try to throw the piccies on here, with the kind of info I would want if I were looking at someone else’s blog.

I’ve been SO in over my head teaching ballet the past few years, and trying to write dance blog posts, (And only barely managing) this blog has fallen by the wayside. Hopefully now I’m more used to it I have more energy to do things like keep up my sewing blog.

I saw (pinterest of course!) a Very Pretty Swirly Dress in a soft blue, and wanted one. Unwilling to pay $845AU for this particular dress I raided my stash instead.
Innika Choo Trunkshow | Moda Operandi

I can’t even remember what pattern I used for the bodice. By the time I faffed with it, it resembled in no way the original pattern.

This photo of trying it on shows the gathered shoulder and under bust. I  drafted those gathers from a non-gathered top.

btf

Finished! Little cap sleeves and a broomstick style of skirt, each tier being a bit wider and a lot longer than the one above. It took me FOREVER to work out the maths to make the absolute most of the modest amount of fabric I had.dav

davdavdav

Twirly!

The ruffle is from a broderie anglaise queen bed doona cover I got from an op shop for a few $. LOTS of pretty ruffles!!! Mmmmmm! There was enough for another project, can’t remember at the moment what, though.

There’s a lot of ease at the bottom of the bodice. I made this dress for the Build Up ie our yukkiest, hottest, humidest horriblest weather, when anything touching your skin is too hot already, just from that touch.
It would be more flattering to simply put some elastic in the back bodice/skirt seam. But then, next Build Up, would it be too hot? Important things to ponder and I still don’t have an answer, though I just realised I could unpick it when Build Up 2019 hits. Hmmm….

In the end I drafted view C/D bodice, of this pattern, which I have in my stash already. I should have just used this pattern first! 20/20 hindsight.

Easy Dress Pattern, Raised Waist Dress, McCall's Sewing Pattern 7116

On the plus side I have a nice non-gathered crossover bodice that fits me, too, now. Perhaps to make something like this Burdastyle pattern. Mmmmm!

102-072016-b_large

Shoes from This Etsy Shop. Love the shoes, and I get so many compliments on them as well. Absolutely no arch support or anything but the sole is very soft and lets your feet work in a healthy manner.
If you order any, send him a letter with a drawing of your feet for sizing. My original pair was too big, so I sent them back, and ordered another colour (green) too, I loved them so much.

Pretty white dresses

24 Feb

I’m trying to work out how to make myself a pretty white dress. What style? Definitely full length. But what style? What feel. What allusions to what past time?

Have some eye candy…. Sorry, didn’t think to write where they’re from.

 

Picking Roses,  Percy Tarrant. (1879-1930) British  .....Note: He is Perhaps best known for his work as an illustrator of books such as 'Wuthering Heights' and 'Little Women',: Princess de Lamballe  1788, la amiga de María Antonieta by Anton Hickel at the Liechtenstein Museum, Vienna.: WW1 summer outfit, Paris Journal 1915-16, from the History Wardrobe collection:

Picnic at Hanging Rock, 1975: Edwardian dress 1908   Augusta Auctions: ❤: London-15th-June-1908: Vintage ad for Crown Perfumery Co., London, featuring Crab Apple Blossoms perfume and Crown Lavender Salts: lindsaylissy2: A photoshoot at the Katherine Mansfield Museum thedreamstress.com

The Going Overseas travel wardrobe plans

28 Jan

Long time no write, right?!
I’m trying. I have my photos of what I sewed last year in one place. That’s a start, right? Right!

But for the meantime I just needed a place to do a brain-dump on what I’m sewing for when I go overseas for a visit..

My travel wardrobe’s never been good at in-between temps, which is what I’ll be dealing with on my trip. I’m really trying to fix that as I have plenty of sewing time before the trip.

Here goes, in order of importance.

Mid-weight Jacket – Dark blue cotton velveteen with dark blue silk lining, out of this pattern but I think I’ll make the peplum a bit longer to properly cover my hips. Have to look at the proportions once on me to work out how long.

Butterick 4020 Misses' Jacket and Skirt Sewing Pattern

To make sure it will fit properly I’m making a jacket in this high-hip length of some dark teal stretchy rayon/polyester/lycra. I wear that kind of fabric all the time in trousers for dance and pilates. It’s pretty light-weight, so I decided in my infinite wisdom to make it double-sided.

I bought this fabric; the pattern’s a LOT bigger than it looks here – those cranes are as big as my hand. And and and!!!! There’s butterflies!!! It’s gorgeous fabric, high quality and the print is so delicate it’s captured the embroidery strokes it is emulating. GORGEOUS!!! Also it’s a classic. It won’t be dated in 20 yrs. I don’t think so anyway ;-P
Oriental Printed Cotton Sateen Pink 127 cm | Spotlight Australia

The reference to 20 yrs is, because living in the tropics I don’t need jackets etc, so I only use warm clothes when I go to temperate climates maybe once or twice a year, some years not at all. So I always try to buy or make things for my travel wardrobe that won’t look dated in 20 yrs.

Jeans – I hate the buggers. I don’t know how people can say they’re comfortable EUW! but for travelling they’re so useful. I found this Jalie pull-on jeans pattern, Elanore. Simple to make (apparently) and easy to use and without all that hardware that contributes to their uncomfortableness. They come in full length as well as capri but I’ll make full length.

Jalie - Elenore Jeans pattern

I’m trying out the pattern with some lovely silvery-grey stretchystuff of the same kind of fabric as the teal. And discovered it is WAAAY too big  even taking into account the stretchiness and even though reviews said the hips were true to size. *sigh* So I’ll just fit those trousers, cut down the paper pattern then try that length out in a capri-length wedgewood blue stretch cotton sateen. I reeeellly need some more trousers like that anyway!

I was thinking about how bored to tears I get with my travel wardrobe after anything over a week. I know the suggestions are to play with accessories but I don’t usually wear anything other than hats so … I’m just not used to it and don’t know how to wear things. And even researching how to rock accessories, I know in the morning while travelling, I’ll just want to throw some shit on and get some tea into me asap. Just like at home! And because I know I’ll still be wearing it in 20 yrs, I go straight for classics, which are nice but en masse are BORING, right? And unusual, but not fashionable ie datable items tend to be hard to work into a travel wardrobe.

(Mind you I do a great lot of fun with socks, but then I need to wear shoes that need socks, but not boots that cover them, right?)

But most of all, I realise my travel wardrobe is full of plain colours. Nice colours, but plain. When at home I wear patterns, patterns and more patterns. I only use plains as a way to either show off detailed art-to-wear handiwork, like appliqued flowers or something, or just to make my print wardrobe work. Like those capris in wedgewood blue.

So … I think I might have worked out the boredom problem! Not enough prints! So …. I also bought some gorgeous stretch cotton knit with seagulls on sky-blue stripey background, and cute darling cats on a navy background.

I will use Deer and Doe’s plantain pattern to make myself some tops, the seagulls short sleeved and the cats long sleeved. I think the style will work well and be easy to wear in my travel wardrobe, as well as being good as a more outer layer if necessary. I’ve made this before in stretch velvet with a turtle neck as a skivvy and on my hourglass figure that flare over the hips is very gentle. And I won’t need to fiddle with drafting different sleeve lengths. It’s a really really nice pattern. (It would make me buy more deer and doe but hey, I can get a lot cheaper patterns when Spotlight has a sale… Mind you I’ve never seen anything with quite the simple but slightly unusual elegance of the Chataigne shorts. *desire*)

DSC_0023plantain

Speaking of cheapy-sale patterns from Spotlight I bought this pattern in the recent sales, I would love to do the orange tee version. But the seagulls are stripey and wouldn’t work and I only bought enough long sleeved with the cats and this pattern doesn’t have them. And I don’t know enough about sleeves to know how to lengthen what look like cap-sleeves. Maybe I need to go back to Spotties. There were some gorgeous duckies in that cotton/lycra knit…
B6458 | Butterick Patterns | Sewing PatternsCopenhagen Ducks Cotton Spandex Black 148 cm
Given I’m going to need to cope with lot of different temps, which is how it usually is when I travel, I’ve found really helpful three red silk petticoats I sewed while living in Canberra (silk from the old, good, lincraft – fabulous quality!) But I would love to have some white pantaloons too, I might be more comfortable in those in certain circumstances, but also I can wear them more comfortably than a petticoat, or on their own with a nice t-shirt, if it’s hot.
Sooooo I am going to use some white silk I have, to sew up a pair of silk pantaloons. I don’t know how fancy I’m going to get with it, depends, I think on how my temper is and how much time I have before I fly. This item is fairly low on the list. But I’d wear them here, too, so they might get done anyway.

I also want to sew some white bike shorts up. I have the same cotton/lycra knit in white as the seagulls and cats. I’m thinking very simple, with lace at the waist and the legs rather than faffing round with hems and such. Sewing hems on knit annoys me!

Oh and I definitely want to finish this – a half-made grey pleat-back skirt (the grey one in the pattern illustration) out of the same fabric as the teal (It’s such great fabric! It is mostly rayon, comfortably stretchy, wears for ever and comes very, er, classic, colours!) It’s to replace a grey skirt I had in my travel wardrobe that finally died *sobs* but was incredibly useful, easy to wear and easy to wash.

For goodness sake Imogheena just finish it already!
V7937

And … I’m not sure if I have enough of the blue velveteen fabric but if not I’ll go get some more, this time in green – if I get to it for this trip – to make a wrap velvet skirt fastened halfway down the front-side with buttons. I had one in blue velveteen for well over 20 yrs, and it came with me on every trip ever. Cotton breathable in even quite ‘hot’ weather, and easy to make warm with long socks and petticoat in freezing weather, and just about perfect for everything in between. And it died *cries* So I am going to make myself another one!

There. Well we’ll see how I go with all that. A lot of faffing round with patterns and fit, which is not my fave part of sewing, but I like the outcome of getting those right, so … eh. I’ll just get stuck into it!

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