Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Blue Linen Tunic Dress - Style 2040 (1979)

Necklace from Farmers
I'm not at all sure what drew me to this pattern when I saw it in St Vinnies. It doesn't have the most enticing envelope, very dated, in fact. But the more I looked, the more appealling it became. It's a very basic tunic style, with an all-in-one yoke and sleeve detail giving it a point of difference. Paired with 2.5 metres of lovely quality blue linen purchased from an early Fabric-a-Brac and just a few easy alterations, I felt I could make a dress that had very little resemblance to the envelope image.
The most obvious changes made were reversing the yoke opening from centre front to centre back, and getting rid of the zip. I also lowered the front neckline by about 2.5cm. Using the short sleeve version (without the cuff extension), I narrowed them at the hems by about 6cm after first fitting.
Did I mention the pattern has pockets? Tempted as I was to topstitch them to the outside, in the end I went for a clean look and just stitched a length of selvedge between them as a stay.
Very happy with the finished garment. Problem is, we had a bit of a rubbish summer here in Wellington, so as lovely as it is, it didn't get much wear. Never mind, there's always next summer (and the next, and the next...).

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

White broderie anglaise blouse

I had a hankering to make a simple broderie anglaise blouse to pair with a vintage black lace circle skirt I've owned for years. I found the ideal fabric in The Fabric Warehouse - 100% cotton with embroidery that's not too foufou.


An hour or so on Pinterest helped refine the look. Fortunately, I was able to base the blouse on a couple of patterns from the stash. There were enough changes to each pattern to warrant making my own, using the body (and sleeve) from Butterick 6811 and the neckline from New Look 6754. I also curved the sleeve edge on the drop shoulder and hems at the side seams to add a little more interest.


A quick and easy make with french seams, rolled hems, and a bias bound neckline.
The fabric, after a couple of washes, has now lost most of its starchiness, giving the blouse lovely drape and softness.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Flying purple people eaters

A little over a year ago, I blogged about a pile of UFOs in my stash. I'm happy to say that apart from No 1 - the wool "Melba" jacket, I've now completed all of them, and even better, haven't added to the pile. Did having photographic evidence of my 'crime' motivate me into action?


The latest to be completed is No 3, "Perfect Purple Pants". They're really the second toilé in my quest to make the perfect fitting pants. They were cut in November 2014 straight after completing the first draft (so, so bad!), but have since languished unmade for 2 1/2 years. Vintage Simplicity 3082 was the starting point - why, I don't know, I have heaps of better fitting patterns. Maybe I wanted to look as rockin' in my pants as the women with the beehive on the envelope? I envision hers are gold brocade - awesome!


Clearly, I've lowered the high waist down to the natural waistline. I also added back pockets and simplified the ankle split (see insets), and made many, many fitting tweaks. The fabric is stretch cotton sateen, bought in a Spotlight sale. Wouldn't be my first choice colour-wise, but it was cheap, and the pants will be fine for India (with a butt-covering shirt, of course!).
I'm pretty happy with the resulting fit. There are still a few drag lines around the knees but I think I've found a fix for those, so we'll see in if it works on toilé No 3.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

New workhorse - navy capri pants

There was a little under a metre of fabric left after making this dress, just enough to make a pair of capri pants.

Using a tried and tested self-made trouser pattern, I shortened it by 30cm, curving the hems at the side seam for a bit of interest. To put them on, the pocket opens out, then buttons close. Easy-peasy.
Necessary, but not exciting sewing.

Update
I didn't explain the pocket closure very well, did I? Will a few more pictures help?
(Apologises for the fluff. Washed with a tissue, grrrh!)
I also found a very old pattern with quite good diagrams instructions.

See, it's really quite simple!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

It's not you, it's me - floral skirt fail

It started life as a 50's inspired frock.
But it wasn't working for me.
"Maybe lose the bodice and make it a skirt", I thought.

But it still it's still not right.
Sigh.
The problem was the dress was something I would have worn a decade ago, (and why I had difficulty finishing it in 2011) but the skirt regressed it even further - back to the clothes I made for myself in high school. 
No, just—no.
Finished, it will be heading to charity soon.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Southern India

Images from my travels to Southern India (Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu) and Gujarat 2015-16.
To see more, go to a kiwi in india









Ayana’s Homestay, Alleppey (http://www.ayanashomestay.com/) - highly recommend


Kerala spiced fish - yummy!










Zigzag blouse - vintage Simplicity 3120 (©1959)

Making notes of fitting changes made to patterns is a habit I really need to get into. I have a notebook for this purpose, which has been used, though clearly not as often as it needs to be. Here's the perfect example of how it all can go so wrong when it's not written down.
I used vintage Simplicity 3120 to make this lovely dress earlier this year. The dress is super comfortable and gets heaps of compliments, so I decided to re-use the pattern to make a blouse out of a piece of cotton purchased through TradeMe ($7 for 1.2m + bits). Thinking I didn't make any fitting alterations to the pattern, I cut out just the bodice pieces (and the sleeves this time), adding 20cm to the hem curving upwards towards the side seams like I did for the Crêpe de Chine blouse.
It went together so swimmingly I didn't bother trying it on until I'd finished - I'd already made it once, so it should be ok, right?

Wrong, so wrong. The back neck gapped. Whaaaaat! How did that happen? So I hummed-and-hawed for a bit, then decided really I didn't care enough to unpick and re-cut it, instead coming up with a cunning plan to run a gathering stitch through the neck edge by hand. It took about a minute, and I actually quite like the finished effect. See for yourself in the lower right image.

So once again Jeannie Gandar's saying "Make a feature out of a flaw" has paid gold.