Thursday, December 13, 2012

My Tartan Terror

Tartans are tricky fabrics to deal with, even for the most experienced seamstress.
In order to avoid tears and UFO’s (Unfinished Objects - thanks, Gertie for this new terminology - love it!) I chose a simple pattern - yeap, this one again - last time, promise.
Yet, because I’m a perfectionist, I still managed to create problems for myself - you know, the checks HAD to match - everywhere. Take a look at the sleeve to bodice seam - phraww! This meant hand basting every seam first. But I did make it easier, and added a little interest, by cutting the collar and cuffs on the bias.
However, by the time I’d finally finished the dress, winter was nearly over here in the southern hemisphere, so it’s only been worn a couple of times. Never mind, there’s always next year.
Thank you, Auntie Muriel for the fabric.
Brooch was a special crew gift (find similar here) and you’ve seen the belt before here and here.
The original Tartan Terror.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Left-over garment

While rummaging through my scrap fabrics a couple of weeks ago for jeans patches, I found a large scrap of coral coloured linen, left over from a suit made in the late 80’s (yep, boxy jacket with gigantic shoulder pads and super short, tight pencil skirt, all class back then!) With a little clever cutting, (ie, seams in the facings) there was just enough fabric for a capped sleeve summer jacket.
I used a couple of different patterns to create the jacket. The body is “Retro” Butterick pattern (6241) - without the peplum and waist darts. I also included a button loop, and curved the front edges away from this. The pleated capped sleeves are from this pattern (again! I know).
If you’re using pattern piece from different patterns like this, check the paper pattern pieces against each other to make sure they’re going to fit together. In this case, I needed to use the sleeve pattern piece for the next size up to fit into the jacket armhole. As builders say “Measure twice, cut once.”
The mother-of-pearl button is Victorian, I bought a long, long time ago (for what seemed like a horrendous price at the time) from a vintage store in St Kevins Arcade, Auckland, but it has been used and re-used on many garments since then, so feel I can justify the money spent on it. It flashes beautiful iridescent teals and corals in different lights. The striped lining is from The Fabric Warehouse, and ... I now have no idea where the linen came from.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My little helpers

Had to chuckle when I read of Erica at Recycled Fashion sewing under the watchful eye of Her Royal Catness. I have exactly the same problem help from my furry friends.
(Clockwise from top left - Madame Velvet Paws checks the pattern; Sootstar (x2) pressing fabric; Mr T (x3) making an adjustment to the thread tension.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Leaf Patch for Jeans - free pattern!

My comfy old jeans have for some time now been relegated to wearing only while gardening or cleaning the house. They recently got a hole in the knee, but because there’s still life left in them, I’ve patched them.
I made the leaf template/pattern myself by scanning a leaf I found in a park, then tracing over the image in Adobe Indesign. Feel free to download the attached jpg (simply click on the image and copy/drag to your desktop) to use for yourself - its scaled to fit an A4 page.

Patching is a great way to use up your favourite scrap fabrics, and you can pretty much use any fabrics (ok, probably not chiffon!) - simply fuse lighter weight fabrics to give them more body, and if you do this before you cut them out, you halve the amount of cutting you’ll need to do.
Using heavy duty machine thread in a contrasting colour, attach upper leaf bits to lower leaf bits using a zigzag stitch on a regular sewing machine. I set the stitch length fairly short (2 on my Elna) and the stitch width at the widest setting (4 on the Elna) because I still wanted it to look like zigzag, but be tight enough so the fabric wouldn’t fray too much.

Make it easier to attach patches to the jeans by splitting open the side seam (the one with no top-stitching).
(At this stage, I put a patch on the back to make it super strong for kneeling down in the garden, etc, but you can skip this bit.)

Hand baste the patches in place. Once your happy with the placements, zigzag around the whole outside, then zigzag any raw edges inside to complete the leaf shapes.
Finally, re-sew the side seam, and enjoy!

Time = 3 hours approximate.
Let me know how you get on - I’d love to see your results!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Working Nine to Five


I’m slowly working through the years of fabrics stored in Nana’s wardrobe and being super thrifty, reused this pattern making the trickier pleated version - actually had to read the instructions to make sure I’d got it right. Linen-blend fabric, not sure where its from because I've had it since my student days, so a very looong time.

Very happy with the results, terrific work dress and have worn it pretty much weekly.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Wellington - Tilt Shift Time Lapse

Welcome to my beautiful city – you can almost see my house on the hill above the airport shots (just needed to pane up a little). 

Superb clip created by Jared C Gray.
Music is by Rhian Sheehan, one of my favourite New Zealand artists.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Thoughts of summer past

A warm(ish) weekend brings thoughts of summer.

Two frocks made earlier this year - a simple shift dress made in bargain-bin linen from Spotlight (worn with belt worn with belt from Buana Satu) and twist-top dress made from an old batik sarong - origin - maybe bought from a show I worked on ages ago???

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Oh pants!

Do you have friends with small children who find innovative ways to not swear in front of them? One non-swearing swear word I particularly like is “Pants!” - makes me giggle every time I hear it uttered.

 When I was still in school, I had a weekend job working at Arthur Toyes fabrics. At the change of seasons a number of the older patterns would be deleted from the catalogues. It was one of my favourite tasks to remove these patterns from the racks and take them out of their envelopes (envelopes only were sent back for a refund) because—although the patterns were suppose to be destroyed (a huge waste!)—the staff were allowed to take any patterns they liked (sans envelopes).

Anyway, fast forward a couple of decades (gulp!), I re-discovered some of these old patterns, including the one used to make the black wool-blend trousers. Circa 1982, wide leg and high waisted, with pleat fronts and side slant pockets. I also lined them to the knee. Super comfortable and surprisingly flattering to wear. Also wearing paper bead necklace from Uganda,  merino top from Glassons, and double belt from Luminary

The navy linen-cotton trousers I made during the christmas break, and virtually lived in them through that miserable summer we’ve just had (luckily, autumn has been mild and warm). I made the pattern several years ago but need to size up (ahem!). No zip, the pocket unbuttons and expands enough to pull the pants on. Stripe cotton top is several season old, from Max.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Ta da!

Now the exterior is weather tight(!) I can start planning the interiors, gardens, etc, the list is endless.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Renovating a Plischke

Where have I been? What have I been doing? Preparing for this!