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.

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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* )

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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?)
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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 ūüôā

 

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 ūüôā

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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.

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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.

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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

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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!

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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!
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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!

Pretty ballet skirts.

15 Mar

I made a few ballet skirts last year as part of my sewing for dance teaching. Behold this oh so pretty satin charmeuse ballet wrap skirt.

I bought the leotard¬†online, such a pretty leotard! And, wised up by the too-small black one, I made sure the one I bought actually fitted me. But the colour is a bit unusual and I didn’t have much that ‘worked’ with it. Again I went to Spotlight and auditioned many fabrics. This charmeuse won hands down. So pretty! ¬†When you’re the ballet student in a traditional ballet school like where I do class, (not teach) skirts are supposed to be a bit translucent, like a georgette or a heavy chiffon, but since this was for teaching in my own school with my own rules, a solid fabric was fine ;-P

I had this idea I wanted to do some ballet photography. Couldn’t find a ballet dancer who wanted to be the subject so I used myself. I only have my phone camera which has this stupidly crazily frustratingly long focus time before it takes the photo. This is me discovering how hard it is to hold a perfectly still fifth position releve en pointe. It actually requires tiny little adjustments to not fall over, which blur the photo, or end up with you looking like you have lousy technique. Eh. Wotevs. I had fun trying!

I have also become the proud owner of my very own orange ballet skirt, sadly un-photographed. The photo below is of me wearing one of my school (Where I go for lessons, not teaching!) skirts. That’s the black leotard before I refashioned it. Nice, but too tight lengthways. Makes port de bra (ie waving the arms round prettily) difficult. I forgot to take my own chiffon skirt to class on day. The teacher found this skirt for me in the props cupboard. What a glorious orange! So I went to Spotlight and found (almost) the same colour and made a nice little orange wrap skirt of my own. Nice!

Behold how shiny and un-used my pointe shoes are? They’re much scruffier now after some good few hours on the floor working in them!

The wrap skirt pattern is a rub-off of a black chiffon wrap skirt I bought years ago through my teacher. I had asked her if I could borrow one of the skirts she had for students, to get the pattern from to make myself one. My teacher explained that one of the Ballet Mums made them and sold them for a few extra $$$. Ok, I got the point. I totally understood the value of the handmade skirts and mums needing a bit of extra $$$ for the family budget. I paid my $15 and bought one. However that was over a decade ago. I suspect Ballet Mum’s dancers might be grown-ups now! So I figured she wouldn’t object to me taking a pattern from her skirt and also her neat, quick construction methods to churn out my own. It very neatly cuts out of 1m x 1.12m of fabric. Though it too, is designed for small people. I’m sure mine was the largest size available. I want to grade it to a bigger skirt for people who aren’t shaped the way dance-clothes designers assume they must be.

I have heaps of dance gear I’m planning on sewing this year. Got all the fabrics, just need a big cutting-out session. Dancewear is generally quite quick to whip up, which is nice! High satisfaction return for input. A few dresses to put over my good leotards, a few more dance shorts, and some swishy knit tops for doing pilates in. Try ¬†my hand at leotards. I made one when I first started ballet, like 25 yrs ago when I was 15. But none since! Should be fun. Right? Right!

Sewing for dance part 2

13 Feb

First a non-sewing dance project: A hair bun cover. It actually helped to keep my crazy hair secure in a bun but the shape was weird. Ballerina buns are rounder and flatter than this. Again I had played it safe and followed some (retro) crochet pattern. Next time I’ll keep reworking it till it’s how I want it. It’s made out of ribbon from some awe-inspiringly awesome yarn/embroidery/handicrafty shop in central Sydney years ago. Plenty more for another try, or 20!

Next, a real win created from a fail. I bought a black short-sleeved leotard online, which, in spite of the product description’s measurements, was too short in the body. Or it was assume the dancer’s body would be 1/4 the circumference of mine? (This is very common in rtw ballet gear. Normal-sized, let alone plus-sized people aren’t supposed to dance, apparently *rolls eyes*). I decided I’d lengthen it and transform it into a leotard-dress.

I auditioned many fabric in Spotlight for the part and chose on this gorgeous turquoise and black ‘dry knit’. I took the sleeves off the leotard and replaced them with dry knit triangle cap¬†sleeves. I cut and sewed the sleeve material into a band. Then I took a very deep breath, reminded myself if I didn’t do this I wouldn’t wear the leotard anyway so had nothing to lose, and cut it across under the bust. Next I sewed the band between the bottom and top bits, extending the body by 5cm. I sandwiched the dry knit (1/2 circle) skirt ¬†into the top seam top bit. This neatly hid the rather messy band, too. Like this!

er … Oops!

I found my unpicker and redid it. The below pictures shows the lovely swishy drape of the dry knit skirt.

This is on high rotation as teaching wear. I feel comfortable, my students can see the bits of my body I need them to see and it’s very easy to chuck on over a pair of tights. The fabric was so wide I was able to get a pair of knee-length harem pants of the same style as the blue above, too. I wear them on high rotation too, as they’re practical and comfortable for pilates as well.

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