Archive | Garment type RSS feed for this section

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!

I accidentally made some Edwardian Drawers.

18 Nov

Yanno, as you do!

Inspiration: I was perusing Wearing History’s patterns when I came across this one

 

I thought to myself ‘Oh I think that’s a circular trouser draft, like the Sunkissed Sweethearts pattern‘ (which also happens to be a Wearing History pattern). Then I thought to myself ‘Oh, but wait! I have a LOT of white broadcloth and voile, I could make one of these using the Sunkissed Sweethearts pattern!’ Then I thought ‘And I could use up all that white lace I keep collecting from op shops. Stashbusting!’

Next thing I knew I’d whipped out the Sunkissed Sweethearts pattern and my copious amounts of white fabric, and had cut out my own rendition of the Edwardian Drawers.

How?

I removed the gathers on the Sweetheart shorts draft (very easy to do) and cut them out in the broadcloth with the curve to the side and extra fabric in the back so I didn’t need closures. The lower part I simply used the curve of the hem on the top part, and cut-and-spread to create a circular ruffle to fit on it.

It was a tiny step from it being cut to having it sewing up. They’re basically elastic-waisted shorts with a fancy ruffle. Too easy! Sewing on the lace took twice as long as it took to make the drawers up. Oh, and unlike in the original pattern description, which has the drawers open in the crotch, I sewed mine together because, like, modern living, like. And I wanted to wear it as outerwear, not underwear!

I put elastic in the front to get it to hug my figure, and a draw-string white ribbon in the back, which ties at the side coz I was silly and put the openings for the drawstring accidentally on the side. Oops!

Around the curve of the upper leg.

Around the lower hem. I need to cut out the fabric from behind the lace. Taking the photo on a darker background might have made it clearer…

I then wore them styled with a white top and a pretty blue sash. The only real FAIL was getting a photo without a silly expression!

You can have me squinting against the glare…

Or me laughing with my eyes closed!

Or a nice expression except my face is turned away from the camera to show off the back.

Back home again, this is to show what it looks like without the top over it. I think they really do look like vintage drawers! *smug*

I love this view. They really do look like so many pictures of Edwardian ladies in their drawers I’ve seen on pinterest. No butt-hugging happening here!

Verdict:

They’re cool, they’re very comfy, they’re very pretty, they’re easy to get on and off. I love them 🙂

No day without a line

9 Nov

‘Remember the painter’s advice to his pupils: Nulla dies sin linea – No day without a line. Nothing is of greater importance than practise.’

From ‘The Manual and theory of Classical Theatrical Dancing (Cecchetti Method)’ by Cyril W Beaumont and Stanislas Idzikowske.

I’m studying for my Ballet teaching qualifications in the Cecchetti school of classical ballet, hence reading ‘The Manual’ as it is affectionately known. The quote got me thinking about all the lines in my life – lines of singing; a line of violin music, the line of the strings and the lines of the bow; a line of written music. Lines of the body in dancing. Lines of dancing interwoven with lines of music. Thousands and thousands of lines of writing and reading.

Oh wait, this is a sewing blog! A line of stitching, a line of pattern, a line of cutting and of course, the inescapable – lines of unpicking ;-P

But the quote is also about practise, and practise is a habit as much as anything else. I’m so out of the habit of blogging about my sewing. I’ve been concentrating so hard on my dance teaching and study this year that the sewing blogging’s fallen by the wayside, especially with the grief of losing Hattie and the strong association she had with my sewing blogging. You know, it’s been over a year, and finally in the past month or so I’ve been able to look at a photo of her without curling up in hurt. So I’m going to celebrate this with a picture of her! Look at her dear little face! And her skull and crossbones name tag, which suited her personality so well!

 

Ok, that’s all I can tolerate for the moment. Moving on hastily … I also started a ballet blog. It was supposed to be the ‘landing page’ for my dance teaching, but in reality the facebook page does that job.

It’s a lot of work to upkeep 2 blogs and one facebook page. I’ve been contemplating closing down the sewing blog and concentrating on the ballet blog. Or vice versa? Lots of lines of thought about my different options!

But all those lines of thought brought me back to the reason I started this blog. I loved reading about other people’s experience of sewing – why they sew what they sew, what challenges they have, how they solved them. And my favourite, the piccies of the outcomes. I wanted to give something back to the online sewing community that I’d gotten so much from. I think these reasons still stand. I might, however, focus more on the whys than the whats though. Just change my focus a tad, see if that is more to my liking.

And getting back to the lines in my life, and the habit of practise, keeping a blog is as much a habit as anything else. I’m going to work to get back into the habit of posting. I’ll aim for once a fortnight. If that’s a bit much I’ll try for every 3 weeks.

As for my ballet blog, while I’m working through what to do with this blog, I also want to work out what I’m doing with my ballet blog. The next few paragraphs aren’t about sewing ok? You’ve been warned 😛 But if anyone has any input about blogs, or online business presence – or even dance writing(!) – I’d love to hear 🙂

Since the blog isn’t doing the job I started it for, do I continue with it? I don’t really know what I want to say through it. I don’t want to write ‘how to do ballet’ stuff. The internet is stuffed with social media covering that. *pfft* No need for me to re-invent the wheel.
I had intended to explore ballet photography, but it hasn’t worked. My phone camera is extremely limiting and I don’t have enough $$ to buy a decent camera. My students aren’t keen on having their pictures taken. I can take pictures of me but … There’s a limit to what I want to put online. Me in clothes I’ve sewn doesn’t seem to worry me. But the dance stuff…? There’s … well, what’s out there is so ‘perfect’, with almost no normal everyday imperfect photos Sewing blogs quite a strong culture of being straightforward and honest about your sewing experiences and your body.
With ballet, I fear that anything I post that’s not ‘perfect’ will open myself up to the vitriol that is out there on the internet, especially against women. It feels like the equivalent of putting online photos of the lingerie you’ve made yourself, ON yourself, with your face clearly showing. In spite of the culture of honesty, most sewing bloggers aren’t prepared to do that. I suspect that’s also why my students aren’t keen on having their photos taken and put on my blog. Essentially, we don’t feel safe enough to put such incredibly personal images of ourselves and our bodies online.

What use then for my ballet blog? Every so often I find something I want to explore. Like the concept of lines. And the concept of the different lines of writing-style between the authors of the different textbooks, which would be my next post if I continue the blog. Then there are just more fun things out there. The more light-hearted side of dance.

There’s also fair bit of crossover between the two blogs. I’m doing a lot of sewing of dance gear. For eg, I chopped up a too-small leotard and added a skirt and cute sleevy-things out of ‘dry knit’ from Spotlight, to create an as-yet unblogged-about ballet-teaching dress. When mum my Reluctant Photographer took photos for this blog she snapped this shot which I think of as my Degas photo. That slight rounding of the shoulders and upper back of a dancer ‘off-duty’, expressive of the fatigue from working so hard is a … well, a line (!) of body I see often in ballet classes. I love how Degas captures the realities of dance. I love how mum captured that in my own stance. Definitely a crossover of concepts between dance and sewing there!

The Ballet Rehearsal on Stage - Edgar Degas - www.edgar-degas.org

 

So maybe I do have things to say on a ballet blog. Just not a huge amount. With my sewing blog there has been plenty of times where I’ve averaged one post a month. I figure that would be just fine for my ballet blog too. Having a goal is always helpful.

We’ll see, I guess.

Sunkissed sweethearts shorts

2 Aug

My first make from Wearing History patterns and definitely not my last! I’m going to use the questions used for the Vintage Pattern Pledge as a template for the post, coz I liked them 🙂

Pattern details

Wearing History 1940’s Sunkissed Sweetheart separates

A top, sarong-skirt and shorts. Here’s what the website says about them:

This pattern is for playful 1940s tropical separates including tie top, shorts, and a sarong skirt.  This pattern was inspired by an original 1940s pattern and has been built on a vintage block but has been updated for an improved fit, easy to read pattern pieces, and brand new step-by-step illustrated instructions.

The blouse has short sleeves with gathering along a curved seam forming a faux yoke. It ties at center front right below the bust.
The shorts hit at the natural waist and have the same accent gathering along the curved seam at each hip. The extra gathered fabric creates a graceful and playful line, perfect for warm summer days!
The sarong skirt is a wrap skirt, and at the front, tying at the inside hip, then wraps and ties at the left hip. The gathers create graceful draping. This can be made in a short for daytime or long for evening.

And it’s pretty much what it says on the packet. I bought the e-version of this and printed and taped it together. I made up the shorts, but I had a good look at the sarong-skirt and top too. I plan on using the top as a base for a button-up shirt one day.

The shorts are made using a semi-circle draft, which makes them much more swishy than the piccies make them look.

The pattern was well-drafted, well thought through, with easy to follow instructions. And the design so cute!

What attracted you to this pattern?

Well funny enough it was the top, not the shorts. As mentioned before, I want to make it into a button-up top, but keeping the gathered-yoke effect on the shoulders. So pretty! But in my life, shorts tend to be in high demand. So this image from the Wearing History site ended up being the one that really caught my eye.

And then I realised I had the perfect fabric for it, someone sent it to me as a stash-buster which was so lovely of them. It is a lilacy-pink rayon/linen blend with pretty same-coloured embroidery on it, with a lovely soft drape. It was a bit pinker than I thought it was based on photos of the stashbusting offer, which kind of put me off the fabric for quite a while.

But you know how it goes, the pattern and/or fabric can sit in your stash for ages and ages and suddenly, the moment you know exactly what you want to use it for, it practically sews itself up while you’re still going ‘Heeeeyy!!! Great idea!’

And this was the case with the shorts. I don’t have just the right fabric for the top yet. I presume when I do, it will be sewn up almost before I finish thinking how great that fabric will look in the top pattern ;-P

Wearing History 1940s Sunkissed Sweetheart shorts.

 

Me stretching in the shorts. Showing the entirety of the front of the shorts. The subtle fullness created by the gathers is so pretty.

Wearing History 1940s Sunkissed Sweetheart shorts

 

As you can see, there’s a bit of pleating and excess fabric at the sides. Since it’s a circular draft, where the fullness of the circle falls is dependent on the shape of the waist seam. In other words, next time I’ll make the curve of the waistband over the front and back legs a bit deeper and the sides a bit shallower, which will help drape some of that fabric more evenly around the body. I am not sure if they’re drafted to get the excess at the sides, or in not putting on a proper waistband the waist of the shorts don’t sit on my body the way they were designed too. Don’t get me wrong though. These shorts are really lovely just as they are and on high rotation in my wardrobe. So is the (unblogged) shirt I’m wearing in these pictures actually. I’m so behind in my blogging!

Wearing History 1940s Sunkissed Sweetheart shorts

Sewing it up

I simply bound the waist in bias binding rather than do a proper waistband like the pattern has. It’s cooler that way.
Ok, so I was Nervous about the faux yoke, but it was well-drafted and the pattern instructions perfectly clear. It turned out to be ridiculously easy to sew. A note though: you can’t do much fitting of the side seams without mucking up the pretty yoke effect. Luckily the measuring I did of the flat pattern and comparing to my own measurements had worked well so I didn’t need to fit the sides seams, but I thought it would help to know that if you’re sewing the shorts yourself.

Also, see the pretty embroidery on the fabric? Nice!

Wearing History 1940s Sunkissed Sweetheart shorts

 

I used a pair of well-fitting trousers to fit the crotch seam. The original pattern’s crotch seam is low, and fairly shapeless, really, in keeping with the kind of crotch shapes used at the time. I prefer the modern sort!

I did another pair in a knit, and they just didn’t work, and weren’t going to work. I had changed the style from semi-circular to more straight-legged and that, and the combination of the fabric, made them look like dowdy little old lady shorts. *shudders*

Of course, in this photo the shorts look just fine, *rolls eyes* but I felt so dowdy in them there was no point finishing them. They’re now re-cut and half-made up into a pair of capri-length leggings!

Wearing History 1940s Sunkissed Sweetheart shorts

I have to laugh at my pose. Look at the outstretched arm. Yes, I do dance ballet!

Verdict

I love this pattern! I’m sure I’ll end up sewing all three items eventually. And probably more than one pair of shorts from it as they are, like the pattern description says, ‘perfect for warm summer days’ and thus perfect for the tropics! The yoke is very feminine while still maintaining practicality in the best of 1940s style. And I’m very impressed with Wearing History patterns. Which is good coz they have heaps I want to buy and make up one day!

Tina Givens Luella Tunic look-alike

13 Jun

This is the second Tina Givens look-alike I’ve tried to create. The first one I made I didn’t wear. It just didn’t do it for me for some reason, so I chopped it up into a pair of bloomer-style shorts. The problem was the style – just one of those things you try out and decide it isn’t for you.

Then I saw this post found through Sewingpatternreview.com, and I decided it was well worth giving the Tina Givens look-alike thang a second go, especially as the weather was awful. In Darwin ‘awful’ weather means hot and humid and sticky and disgusting. Loose swingy flowing natural-fibre clothes are by far the best clothes for that weather.

Getting the sort-of-right look in the first dress was so hard I seriously considered just buying the actual Tina Givens Luella Tunic pattern. As well, I’d also recently concluded this dress just wasn’t as I’d really envisioned it, and sent it to the op shop, so I wasn’t feeling that confident with the whole trying to make look-alikes thang. Three points, however, decided me against buying a proper Tina Givens pattern.

  1. I’d made the free Tina Givens Plinka Pants pattern for a friend and the draft was so simple and er, essentially shapeless I didn’t want to spend money on a pattern like that.
  2. I read this post on Curvy Sewing Collective where the reviewer found the actual pattern so big and shapeless she essentially redrafted the fit using a good-fitting pattern of her own, though not the style, to make it fall more flatteringly. This thread on Artisan Square wasn’t exactly inspiring of spending that much $$$ on any of the patterns either.
  3. I’m stubborn and rather enjoy the challenge of trying to copy a picture from the internet, even if I don’t always succeed 😛

So I took my favourite shift dress that I know fits well, adjusts easily and usually still looks good after adjustments. I applied it and my copying skills to some gorgeous peacock craft fabric from Spotlight And got cutting and sewing. Here is the result.

I cut it to fit within the width and length of the fabric I had chosen to use (2.2m of 112 wide fabric) so I essentially got the pattern out of 2.2m. It looks like the Tina Givens pattern takes a lot more fabric, so hey, I’m happy with mine. I can see there’s a bit of a ‘corner’ in the side seams in the original. I chose to not do that, going with a more streamlined side seam.

The overall result is a tunic top I wear so much that the moment it’s been laundered I’m wearing it again.  It’s cool, satisfyingly swishy and the fabric is just gorgeous irl. The piccies of the top itself don’t do justice to it so here is a picture of the fabric itself.

The neckline is high which helps keep the sun off my crazily fair skin, but as I’ve found with this shift pattern, the neckline isn’t too hot. It’s the perfect compromise between sun-sensible and coolness. Probably one reason why this is my go-to TNT shift dress pattern. I also made a little cut-on cap sleeve to keep the sun off my shoulders, rather than longer, hotter sleeves as in the Tina Givens pattern. The coral-red in the fabric just so happens to perfectly match the coral butterfly shorts I’m wearing with it in these photos. It looks lovely with the other coloured shorts and 3/4 trousers in my wardrobe too.

I’ve been in love with floofy dresses for a long time now, especially in the worst time of year weatherwise. Now I’m in love with floofy tops too! Especially when worn with shorts, they are the perfect antidote to stifling mugginess. So … I’ve cut up another length of fabric for another floofy top, this time the floofy coming from released pintucks. It didn’t work out as I envisioned so it’ll be a while before I have redone the top and write about it here. Don’t worry though! I’m having a lot of fun 😀

I suspect that even though I am not inspired to buy any of Tina Given’s patterns I’ll still dream over them on her site. I mean hey, I can totally see myself in this dress…

Or this…

 

Adorably cute cat er I mean undies

20 May

I’ve been on a mission to sew cute undies. My favourite rtw ie the only ones I’ve found that fits me properly, are very short-lived and too expensive to keep buying them at the rate they keep dying.

Good thing I can sew. *phew*

I’ve been sewing mostly with woven fabrics as I have mostly woven scraps. It’s also a great excuse to buy 50cm of fabric I love but either can’t afford more of, or just reeelly don’t need to add to my stash.

In fact this fabric was one of those buys, made into the ‘sweet cotton panties’ pattern at gomakeme. It’s a really cute pattern, with the virtue of being cut on the straight grain, enabling you to squeeze it out of a smaller amount of fabric generally than bias-cut woven undies patterns. I adjusted the back to go under my buttocks, not in the ‘cheeky’ fit across them. I just prefer them that way, and I think they’re just as cute either way 🙂

 

I’ve also been using up odds and ends of fabric from other makes that are such great prints I can’t let them go. This has a different application of leg elastic than above, I was trying out how soft lingerie elastic worked on craft cotton. Yeah, it does the job 🙂

 

Another fabric I couldn’t let go.

 

I’m in love with these undies! They’re made from the bottoms part of this swimsuit pattern I got for 20c in the local op shop. I know I know, yes this pattern is for sale from anything like $30 – $60. Be jealous! I did have to size up a fair bit but changing sizes with undies is actually surprisingly simple.

Vogue 9230; ca. 1975; Misses' Swimsuit With Briefs and Hat. Lined-to-edge swimsuit has scooped neckline, cutaway armholes, close-fitting bodice, inset waistband extending to tie ends, peplum extending to side back, and detachable back panel with elasticized waistline. Lined-to-edge briefs have elasticized legs and waistline. Wide brimmed hat has six-gore crown, elasticized headcasing and topstitching. Purchased pre-gathered trim; purchased scarf. [insert your photos of this pattern made up]

Oh no wait, that wasn’t the undies! I’ll try again

.

Darn, still not quite. Lemme try again.

Aha, got it! This pattern is sooooo cutely retro. I love it. When sizing up I just had to make sure the width fit round my hips when I was sitting down, then extended the rise up to my waist, and it now fits, while keeping that cute retro look.

A bias-cut woven, finally! A tanga-style undies even. I made this one up myself, by using a knit tanga pattern I have and, er, I just cut them a bit bigger all round and was quite surprised when it turned out well, and perfectly comfortable.

I had a slight mishap first sew of the waistband though. I sewed them up with a twist between front and back. Oops.

Making my own undies is such fun 🙂 I’ll post the knit undies in another post. Enough piccies in this one!

Vintage Suit sewalong

8 May

So yes, I’ve joined the Vintage Suit Sewalong, because my track record with sewalongs is just so good, and I desperately need a suit in my life, and need a vintage suit even more!

<returns to reality>

I’ve joined the Vintage suit sewalong because even though I don’t think I’ve ever properly completed any sewalong I’ve joined, I love seeing everyone else’s sews coming along, and the finished products. I really don’t need a suit (I need leotards! I’m doing so much dance at the moment.). And I need a vintage suit even less. But the other reason I joined? Well… I have this pattern:

Photo in paper pattern file - Google Photos:

 

Indeed I’ve had this pattern for a very very very long time. I believe it is actually my first ever op-shop vintage pattern buy. I also believe, if I’m recalling correctly, it was 20c. Hit me hard in my hip pocket this pattern did! Oh wait hang on, we’re back in reality aren’t we. Yeah 20c. No wonder I nabbed it 😀 I haven’t sewn it yet. It is one of those patterns I’m sure I’ll sew one day. Maybe its time has come.

Let us take a look at the divine details:

A classic knee-length A-line skirt with two small darts in the front. I adore two small sweet darts instead of the usual boring tedious but perfectly serviceably single dart.

The jacket is a delightful length. Waist length, but just long enough no midriff would show as you move around. I have no problem with showing my midriff but I prefer to show it in the context of bellydancing, not so much an everyday context. But, but, but!!! That length of jacket would allow a nice swish of air round the waist. Inbuilt airconditioning is always a bonus in the tropics.

Behold the angled bust dart – I much prefer angled darts at the bust than boring, tedious but perfectly serviceable horizontal bust darts. The angled dart helps shape the waist of a garment without necessarily creating a curved waistline. It looks great on pinafore-style dresses too.

I don’t mind a notched collar. I’m not greatly excited by the pockets, mainly because all I can see of them is an extra few layers of fabric. HOT!!! so I’ll probably leave them off. And I like the sloping shoulders, considering mine are a classic coat-hanger-ish shape that requires more of a slope than most modern patterns have, to fit them properly

I really really like the fact this jacket won’t need a dicky or a camisole to be modest in the cleavage department. I won’t need to move the buttons up, coz believe me, there is no way I’ll be wearing anything under the jacket. That would constitute wearing more than one layer of fabric. HOT. Waaaay to hot.

Speaking of too hot, the sleeves are too long, so I’ll shorten them, and create a little summer suit of the style that I saw so many of in Brisbane’s CBD in summer when I lived there. Suits like these:

High quality professional summer ol lilac short-sleeve pant suit women's fashion business work wear twinset free shippingNew Pink Business Suits Women Work Wear Skirts Sets Short Sleeve Blazer Suits With Leopard Printed Spring Summer Suits Plus SizeTB2rFxEcFXXXXajXXXXXXXXXXXX-2126658491

 

I was, in fact, so in love with these adorable, short-sleeved suits that even though I didn’t work in a fancy office job in Brisbane’s CBD I made my own pantsuit out of a soft sage green ‘tropical’ wool randomly found in a dusty unkempt fabric shop in my local shopping centre. I wore it when I moved back to Darwin, too, because amazingly, that ‘tropical’ wool was cool enough to do so. For the record I used this pattern. So mid-90s! (hey, isn’t that vintage nowadays? ;-D)

I guess I’m trying to recreate that feel of being so put-together yet so well, er, suited, ahem, to the tropics. Having the experience of tropificying a suit pattern already, I feel equal to the task of tropficying my vintage suite pattern too. I’m considering making some trousers as well as the skirt – probably my usual 3/4 length ones, which could look quite cute with a short-sleeved matching jacket. Not sure though… Must think on it.

According to the Vintage Suit sewalong timetable, May is for muslining the suit. I’d better get on with it then!

Peasant dresses from Butterick 5130

5 May

I have a few makes from last year I haven’t blogged about. All the oomph went out of me when my beloved sewing companion HattieCattie died last year. It didn’t help that she’s all through my sewing pictures, making it painful to look through them.

Anyway, having recovered some of that oomph … years ago I made up the Butterick 5130 pattern (for knits).

,

I loved the dress and wore it to death, even though I was never greatly taken with the elastic halfway across the bust and back. It left me wondering kind of like er, why put them there???
So for last year’s version I simply eliminated that seam/elastic casing and created a simple empire-line peasant dress.

This would have worked well if the light knit rayon I used hadn’t been so thin you could see my bra underneath it (more obviously so in reality than in this picture), made worse by the weight of the dress dragging things down.

But the general idea of eliminating that seam worked well, so I redid the dress in a woven craft cotton. I measured the pattern before I cut it to make sure it would fit round me without needing stretch. It worked well apart from the sleeves being a tad too tight, but not unwearably so. (Look at the different lengths of my hair! One photo taken at the beginning of last year and the other taken at the end of last year 😀 That’s a lot of added length for curly hair!)

I adjusted the sleeves and tried the new pattern out on a top. It is very comfortable now. I’ve since made another dress based on the pattern, too, but I lowered the under bust elastic to the true waist. I’ll have to blog about them both soon 🙂

This pattern is a lot nicer than the pattern picture indicates, for the record!

Butterick 5130

Yeah I’m repetitive, I know, or: Another Burda 7109 make

19 Feb

Another nightie-pattern make.

Well you see, I saw this apron on pinterest (you know how it goes ;-P)

Shabby Chic

And I wanted one of my own! But I never wear aprons, and if I ever do I already have two very pretty (and practical) ones. Dresses on the other hand? Especially cool and flaringy dresses, I wear a lot. The higher the humidity, the more likely I’m in a dress.

Try as I might I couldn’t find a floral fabric similar, so I went for a totally different rose print, a bright cotton-lycra sateen rose print in many colours that my dear friend Kathy gifted men. Mmm! I had planned to make the fabric into a fit-and-flare dresss but never got round to it, not least coz there wasn’t enough fabric. Where was my brain when Kath asked me how much I needed? There was, happily, enough to make an apron-dress.

This photo doesn’t show the shape too well so you’ll have to take my word for it that it’s shaped like the apron I found on Pinterest.

I even curved the hemline like the apron.

My interpretation of what an apron-dress’s back should be. I would have added more fabric to the back pleat by choice but didn’t have enough fabric. Oh well…

All this from my great fave nightie pattern, Retro repro burda 7109, which is a great trapeze shift dress when it’s not being a nightie 🙂

Style 4890, butterflies, poincianas and a beautiful house

6 Jan

Just look at that poinciana. How beautiful? I love love love flowering trees, and from mid year till christmas, Darwin gets one flowering tree after another after another. The poincianas flower during the worst weather of the year (Oct/Nov), so you get a very typically Darwin-like dichotomy of horrible weather and glorious colour.

Oh yeah, sorry, forgot to mention: I made a tunic-dress from Style 4890. See the little butterflies on the fabric? So sweet. (That’s my mum on the right, wearing a dress from Burda 8379)

If you’re not into the orange-reds of the poinciana, perhaps the cooler reds of this frangipani are more to your delight?

Oh yeah, sewing. I wanted something to test the pattern before I used it on this gloriously vibrant blue and white butterfly fabric:

,

This sweet green butterfly fabric jumped (flew?) out of my stash and volunteered for the job. I had enough for a tunic. Nice and cool to wear round the house, but works well with my bloomers for streetwear.

I love all the reds in this picture.

I love how easy it is to fit my back with the help of some shoulder darts so common in vintage patterns. Modern patterns should routinely have them too I reckon.

I sized the pattern up from the vintage size 12 to fit my modern size 12(ish), including an FBA, and am pleased with the result.  I didn’t have enough fabric for the pattern’s sleeves so I used my ubiquitous cap sleeve from the Amy Butler Lotus tunic pattern.

(I’ve never actually gotten round to making this pattern up, but I’ve used the cap sleeve on it more times than I can remember, so hey, it was a great buy, right?)

Amy Butler Lotus Tunic & Cami AB031LTC

I’ve subsequently sewn the blue and white butterfly dress, just need photos of it. Another post for another time.

The photos were taken at Burnett House, a National Trust property built in1938, during their sunday afternoon tea. Burnett house sits on the cliffs of Myilly Point overlooking Darwin Harbour. The architect, Burnett, designed houses especially suited to the tropics. Rows of louvres rather than windows and walls, roof cavities that let the hot air escape, and building at treetop level to catch the breezes that are cooled as they go through the trees are just some of his innovations. Apparently he was involved in designing the Raffles Bar in Singapore too.

My experience is that the more of his features a dwelling has, the cooler and more liveable it is, and (these days) the less aircon you er, ‘need’. (When I was a kid only really rich people had aircon and even then not usually throughout the entire house, nowadays everyone ‘needs’ it ;-P).

Imagine sleeping in this room. What this picture doesn’t show are the views of the cliffs overlooking the harbour, and the cool breeze stirring through the room even though it was a still hot day outside, in the hottest, yukkiest time of year. Definitely no aircon needed here!

I’ve never done a mirror-selfie in such a pretty setting before.

Well-loved sewing gear. (Remember those patterns, they’ll appear in another post.)

How special is this? The reverse is almost the same as the front. Certainly wasn’t done by an embroidery ham-fist like yours truly…

Another try at capturing the floral beauty of October/November in Darwin

%d bloggers like this: