The Gray Swan Dress

A sudden rush of sewing mojo has me twirling like a ballerina.

Sometimes, things work out better when you stop worrying about the consequences and so it went with this dress. This winter, it seemed all the high street stores had these little ponte skating dresses with circle skirts and although I had some left over double-knit from my Minoru muslin I had no pattern that would work.

In the end, I used Ali’s method of pin-tracing the bodice pattern pieces from my Gertie dress (which originally used New Look 6824); the sleeves came from my newly adjusted Victory Hazel Dress Pattern and the skirt is a 3/4 circle. The construction was a case of trial and error.

The princess line fit well but gaped a wee bit at the centre front so I gathered approximately 2in of length out there. I free-handed the cut of the neckline then added a band of the same fabric using this tutorial to get it sitting flat. My favourite thing though,was top-stitching all the seams; thanks to Tasia’s instructions on the Minoru jacket I already knew I liked the effect on this fabric. I even topstitched the darts at the back! For the circle skirt I used Patty’s calculator to do the maths.

I love the end result and feel I could fit right in with the Corps in Black Swan…

{illustration} Amy Westcott : {source} Clothes on Film

Okay well maybe not but if you need me I’ll be pirouetting over here.

Epilogue:

Note to self – do not let fantasies of ballet stardom distract you from the weather report… unfortunate circumstances may result in windy Scottish cities.

{source} Kestrel Finds & Makes

Slacker’s Slacks: New Look 6190

Peeps, I have some big news to share but I’m struggling to find the right words to explain so I’m procrastinating on that one until tomorrow. Meanwhile, I have a quick little palette cleanser project and in fact the first thing I have sewn this year!

I used my tried and true pants pattern and some fabric from my stash to whip up some slacks.

Note to self – wear with heels! I made this using a couple of metres of a poly blend from the stash in a couple of hours. Unfortunately the fabric wrinkles as soon as I move an inch but they’ll do and at least I’ve started sewing again.

The sewing space isn’t quite finished but here’s what I’m working with.

Not so bad, huh? It’s a start :)

MMM Catch-up

Woops got a little behind there and lets face it most of this weeks outfits were total repeats – so unexciting!

Here’s two I hadn’t worn yet this month though…

Hehe… I was half asleep when I took this one. Luckily this double-knit mash-up of New Look 6824 & BurdaStyle Jenny doesn’t require a lot of thought.

I seem to be on a purple kick – today I wore my me-made suedette skirt with a rtw shirt.

MMM Day Four

Today was ‘Wear Red for Red Cross’ day, raising funds for those affected by the Canterbury Earthquake. I put my last minute Christmas Dress, New Look 6643 in Red Ponte de roma, to work. In support, donations were collected for the New Zealand Red Cross.
Now, I don’t really have any words that can describe the earthquake that shook Christchurch 10 days ago. There are too many sad stories already but if you can spare anything and are looking for a cause to support this is certainly deserving.

Rescued office workers from the collapsed Pyne Gould building via sydney morning herald.

The people of Canterbury are survivors in the most awesome sense of the word.

Twofer: New Look 6190 & Simplicity 2593

Here are two super quick patterns to throw together.

The pants are my second go at New Look 6190. Unlike the khakis, this fabric had a little stretch to it so I only added 1/2 an inch to the all the vertical seam allowances versus an inch on the woven fabric. I didn’t intend to have the elasticity – it was just the by product of fabric shopping in a rush and hoping for the best.

Initially I sewed the pants on my machine with a straight stitch. When I bent down to pin my hem (the joys of fitting and pinning by ones-self) I promptly split the seam on the butt, so I sucked it up and attempted threading my serger with new thread for the first time since I bought it. This step took longer than the entire project from cutting to hem… and I still don’t have it right. But it was enough to make these pants safe for work.

I also added 1 & 1/2 inches to the crotch depth. On the Khaki’s this bought the waist to just below my belly-button. With this fabric it sits just above, don’t ask me why. Still I love the high waist, so no complaints there. These were super comfortable to wear so I know they are going to get a lot of use.

The top is a Cynthia Rowley pattern, Simplicity 2593. The design is pretty simple just a one piece back, one piece front with easing at centre front. The arms holes and neck are bound with fabric bias binding. The design element is the neck band inView A, with is a long twisted tube hand stitched to the neck edge.

I threw this together with some gingham I had hanging around for making muslins. It was definitely wearable but I’m not sold on the design on me. Again, I already know I shouldn’t buy patterns without darts or other shaping but I get sucked in with the idea of simple un-complicated designs. Unfotunately this means it’s a little boxy on me.

I made a Size 20, which gave me 3 and a half inches of ease at the bust, and I lengthened the pattern by 1 and a half inches. I also had a couple of issues with the instructions. When it comes to the arm holes, it asks you to trim off 5/8 inch once the shoulder and side seams are sewn. I couldn’t, for the life of me figure out why it asked you to do that – so I didn’t, which probably doesn’t help the boxy. Also, I found the lack of detail on how to attach the neck band, super frustrating, particularly at 11 o’clock last night when I was stubbornly  hand stitching it on. I know some people on pattern review have made some lovely versions, but I don’t know if this is a keeper for me.

Here’s how I wore these to work:

TOTAL COST (TOP)

Fabric: $8.0 (2m @ $4/m – Spotlight)

Pattern: $7.50

TOTAL: NZ$15.5 / US$11.13

TOTAL COST (PANTS)

Fabric: $24 (2.4m @ $10/m – Spotlight)

Pattern & Thread: $0 (From stash)

Zip: $4.0

TOTAL: NZ$28 / US$20.11

Scalloped Dress: New Look 6180

This is a really quick little post. This dress is New Look 6180 in View C, which I made for a New Years wedding of an old family friend last summer. I ended up wearing something completely different as it was 32 degrees (90F) and the accomodation for the week was a 4-man tent (hippie wedding in the Coromandel = long story).

View from the wedding accomodation

So this one has only been worn once as I soon realised I’d hemmed it a little too short for comfort. This is also why I’m not wearing it in the photo. Why am I posting it you ask? Well, besides the fact I do really like how the scalloped neck edge came out, the answer will be in the next post.

Scalloped Neckline

m4s0n501

Shift Dress: New Look 6643

So I ended up buying 16 patterns off the Vogue/McCalls/Butterick website on Sunday. 16? 16! I justified it by the fact that a Vogue pattern will cost me aprox NZ$27 here but I got them for US$3.99. So that’s like 75% off. It certainly helped sort the Self-Stitched-September planning too. I’ll post the goodies & plan shortly.

In the meantime, here’s what I wore to the office today. This is View A of New Look 6643 and I call it my fall back dress. I made it last year before I had attempted any fitting or altering of patterns and whilst I look at it now and think of the adjustments I might make (I mean there’s not even any bust adjustment), it’s always so comfortable.

The thing is, I always forget I have this one. I’m not sure why that is, but I run through in my head what I’m going to wear for the day (usually whilst procrastinating on getting out of my warm, warm bed) and this one never occurs to me. Then I see it, throw it on and it never fails to make me feel good.

It’s the simplest pattern – two princess darts at the front and back, neck facing and bias bound arm-holes, a centre back zip and vent. It’s made out of that super soft and silky feeling satin (sorry I’m no good with knowing my fabrics) and a beautiful rich print. It doesn’t show in the photos, which were taken in artificial light at 6am (eek), but it also has flecks of turquoise in it.

I had a similar pattern 12 years ago in high-school that I sewed in everything from satin to Hawaiian print to white linen. It’s nice to see some things are always classic.

Does it look like the envelope?

TOTAL COST:

Pattern: $10.0

Fabric: $27.99 (1.4m @ 19.99/m – Centrepoint Fabrics)

Notions: $15.0 (Aprox)

TOTAL: NZ$52.99 / US$36.70

I want a white lace dress…

You know when you get a vision of something in your head, then you start seeing it everywhere…

Alexa Chung; The Telegraph; Linda Brownlee

Trelise Cooper; Summer 2010; Marzipan 'Pearls of Wisdom' Dress

Josephine over at The Silk Futures made a truly gorgeous version she called the ‘Doily’ dress.

View B of New Look 6949 could work, and I already have it in my stash…

Khakis

So back in high school the first and only trousers I made were a pair of purple satin pajama pants. 12 years later here is attempt number two.

I’m pretty happy with the results. I used New Look 6190 and they ended up not too far off what’s on the pattern envelope. I bought this one about 4 years ago when I wasn’t quite so voluptuous so it was already cut out in a size 18. I adjusted this by adding 4″ to the hips (1/2″ to each seam allowance) which I carried down the whole length as it handily also equaled the 2 inches I needed to add to the thigh. The other adjustment was to add an inch to the crotch depth as I’m paranoid about showing butt crack (can you blame me, really?). Once sewed up, I had to take 3 inches off the hem. I may be 5′ 9″ but that height is not in my legs!

I used a cheap polyester drill as I just wanted to give these a go before making some black pants for work. They were super easy to construct and I got to put the green machine to work on the overlocked seams. Originally I purchased the fabric intending to make New Look 6949 but found I already had this pattern and it had a nice waistband which 6949 didn’t. Unfortunately this one uses just a smidge more fabric so I had to make the facing from left over fabric but I quite like the contrast.

TOTAL COST:

Pattern $- (From Stash)

Fabric $16.80 (2.4m@$7/m – Spotlight)

Thread $ 4.50

TOTAL: NZ$21.30 / US$14.7

PS. Found my package I left at the supermarket  so more sewing to come.