My silliest make ever?

8 Mar

I certainly feel silly when I wear them. And I wear them A LOT!

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Jodhpurs! And here I am in them at Riding for the Disabled, (who also do lessons for able-bodied people like me), with the very cheeky horse Dylan, and the fantastic coach Natasha

Riding is hot, dusty – or muddy! wet (I can’t seem to go near water without getting soaked, and we wash the horses down afterwards), and sweaty. Bits of chaff stick to you, bits of horsehair horse sweat and horse smell sticks to you, leather saddle smell sticks to you. It’s just … mess.

How silly a contrast can you get to this oh so pretty fabric?

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A tad … inappropriate?!

Why on earth this fabric? I wanted a comfy cotton/lycra stretch knit to try out the pattern. Spotties didn’t have any plain stuff, leaving me with a choice between very genderised boy-prints or girl prints.

The boy prints were all a bit gamon. So I narrowed the girl prints down to a blue floral, or this one. I chose this, coz, well, the silliness of choice made me laugh. And laughing is good for you! So is not taking yourself too seriously, right?

The backstory: I started learning horseriding last year and I LOVE IT. It can be funny seeing people’s reactions to when I tell them. Most people these days know me as a dancer, my life full of chiffon and pointe shoes in a very artificial stage or studio setting.dav

But it’s not so odd, really. The love of horses runs deep in my family, indeed both my paternal grandparents ran a riding school, and there are horse riders on my mother’s side too. And, in spite of my apparently pretty delicate ballerina air, I actually grew up mostly rural.

But regardless, I have very soft skin that blisters easily. As easily from a seam chaffing at my inner thighs when in the saddle, as it does pointe shoes in ballet class. Sigh.

Since jeans or leggings were chaffing badly, I investigated rtw jodphurs, discovering they are expensive, all look Very Serious, (ie boring) and have all the same fitting issues I have with any rtw trousers or leggings – too big in the waist or too small in the hip; pulling down at the back due to the shape of my crotch curve. And, of course, the thighs too small.

Yes, rtw trousers thighs are usually too small! Don’t laugh! The struggle is real, guys!

https://i.pinimg.com/236x/6b/5a/d3/6b5ad3e7acd8282652ced8e4d2b4baec.jpg

I decided to make my own jodhpurs to get a good fit and because it would be cheaper if making more than one. And also, I was curious as to how they were drafted. And unsure anyway as to good the actually were when in the saddle.

Enter Jalie Cora leggings.

Jalie 3462 - Cora Running Tights Pattern (Fabrics RUB695 + MF 5001 from FunkiFabrics)

They’re great. They do what they say on the packet, are very well drafted, and comfortable. And see the seam down the front of the legs? Perfect! No more blisters! And bonus, no more bootleg jeans swishing round my ankles being quite frankly, a bit of a safety issue.

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For the record, I love these riding boots I bought from Saddleworld! Leather with a rubber sole and regulation small heel, they were sold as paddock to saddle or something like that. ie not just for riding, but for looking after horses too.

When I started, I didn’t really think so far ahead as to realise it would be a great excuse to buy more shoes. But hey, who’s complaining?!

Sewing assessment coz I have no idea what I’m doing

7 Feb

Trying to close the gap between what I like sewing and what I want to wear. (There’s no pictures in this post. Does this then not count as a sewing blog post? πŸ˜€ )

Hmmm…

My dress tastes are changing. I’m looking for calmer, and perhaps a bit more formal dressing. Well that’s a guess coz I really have no idea.

I found this self assessment tool on my hard drive with absolutely no way of identifying who it came from. An online search didn’t reveal anything either. If you recognise the questions, please let me know where, so I can credit them.

Rightio here goes….

Top Three Items That I Wear For Home:

Floofy dress, floofy dress, floofy dress

Top Three Items That I Wear For Work:

Ballet teaching: knit tunic top and leggings

Writing etc: Purple shift dress, fit and pleat dresses, skirt and nice blouse, and I wish I could add here ‘trousers and nice blouse’ but I don’t have any trousers argh!!!

Bonus extra – going out and about: tunic (patterned, just below low hip) and leggings or same as writing.

Top 3 items for exercise:

Pilates/bike riding: Leggings, t-shirt, soft bra

Ballet: leo, skirt, tights, sturdy bra

Horseriding: socks, boots, jodhpurs, UPF 50+ top sports bra

Top Three Sewing Talents (go on, show off!):

Ooooohhhhh hmmm.

Fitting myself and my mother LOL and I do understand the concept of fitting generally!

Making nice cotton rayon or linen clothing. I know these fibres inside out and roundabout. I am the queen of natural fibre sewing!

Adding frou-frou and pretty embellishments πŸ˜€

Top Three Sewing Weak Spots (ouch!):

Er…. well, this. Sewing what I like to actually wear ie a lot more Basics.

Feeling in control of my fabric and pattern stash. I really want a system for it but don’t really know how, as my creativity changes things up and I am working with new ideas all the time. This is why sewing basics never happens.

Sewing knits, including anything involving elastic. I can do it but can’t get it comfortable to wear.

Bonus: Sewing jackets/coats which I have little call to do but when I want to, I don’t really know how. I have made a few but I bumble my way through them.

Top 3 weather oriented styles

dry season: whatever I feel like coz it’s cool enough! when cold, my snuggly merino cardy

Build up: floofy, nothing touching my body. But not like a nightie. Empire line seems to be my favourite

Wet: shorter clothes so I can splash in puddles and not get a wet hem eg shorts rather than trousers. Shorter dresses and skirts. Loose is still good due to the high humidity but full floof is hapmering.

Top Three Sewing Goals:

Feel better about my stashes and also get them better organised

Have a wardrobe full of clothes I want to wear

Sew a bra I like to wear

Top Three People Who Enable Me:

Haha, mum, V, C, and A, er everyone?

Top Three People I Enable:

C, mum, anyone I can!

Top Three Reasons I Can’t Sew:

Time and energy and overwhelm/lack of inspiration. Not being able to envision how to proceed, too.

Top 3 things I hate sewing:

synthetic yukky fabrics

boring, uninspiring fabrics ie why I usually find trouser sewing tedious!

sewing things I haven’t had any creative input into, which is why I don’t like sewing for other people. Most soft furnishings fall into this category too.

 

Top Three Reasons I Can Sew:
Inspired – if I’m inspired I really finish things and love them

Setting time aside

I just love it

Top 3 things I LOVE to sew:

nighties!

pretty, nice feeling natural fabrics with gorgeous patterns

dresses

NUMBER ONE CHALLENGE I SET MYSELF for 2020
Make a nice ‘going out’ dress from that embroidered lace and the white rayon.

Not sure what to draw from this. I think the most obvious thing is I have a mismatch between what I like to wear and what I sew. ie I want to sew ‘pretty, nice feeling natural fabrics with gorgeous patterns’

What I want to wear is ‘pretty, nice-feeling natural fabrics with a nice textural component to them.’

I also want to have more of a work-wear uniform. I made myself 5 purple shift dresses. But the dresses I reach for are dark blue/varying shades of navy and the darker purple ones.

I love beautifully patterned fabric for nighties, though. And for tops/shirts probably more subtle but I like patterns there too.

I also hate my arms being restricted.

I also prefer more fit and flare styles, apart from in the Build Up when I want as little as possible touching my skin! ie floofy dresses. So skirts with a top that has a nipped in waist work well.

Perhaps this is where I’m falling flat with trousers.

I’ve had a few style consultanty type people tell me I should wear bootleg, not full, or long rather than just below the knee. And that basically I look a bit dumpy in full type trousers. Which I’m not sure I do look, but it got in my head. Also full length because 3/4 ‘makes me look short’ sigh.

But really I just AM short. Recognising this helped me with ballet too. Some ballet mum years ago told me my arms were short. Which I happen to know from sewing they’re not, they’re long. But it got in my head. Then one day I was looking at my lines in the mirror and realised, you know, it’s not that my arms are short. My entire body is short! So there! I’m just a shortypants!)

As a result of all this, I tend to make trousers 3/4 length bootleg, which are hot so I don’t really like wearing them. And hard work to sew. BORING! Two counts against them. BORNING, and something I don’t really like to wear. Perhaps I just need either swishy flaring ones, A-line gaucho-ish, or legging-look-alikes?

But it’s about proportion, really. And I think it’s shoes more than the length or style for my bottom half, as to whether I look dumpy or not. (also what’s actually wrong with being dumpy???)
A shorter top often looks much better proportionately, than a longer one, too. Unless it’s a tunic of course.

Lots of food for thought here…

 

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 πŸ˜€

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.

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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 πŸ˜€

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.

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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 πŸ™‚

 

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 πŸ™‚

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. IΒ  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!

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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.

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