Saturday, July 25, 2015

I actually made another Actual dress!!

Good grief this is becoming a habit! But I think I have a new obsession - winter dresses. Cosy, warm, long, knit dresses.
This one is another Khaliah Ali pattern but this time from McCalls; M2078. While the McCalls range of her designs stops at size 24, I checked the sizing and this was just fine for me.
However it is not in me to leave well alone. The bodice front and centre skirt panel are all as one, which seems like a waste of fabric to me. Also, I wanted to add some flare to the front and back skirt panels. While the line drawing implies that they have flare, they are dead straight.
So, I cut the long skinny bits off, slashed and spread them, and off I went. I also wanted to do something more interesting with the neckline than just face it. So I draped a little tie collar that culminates at that lower corner. And here it is!
 On the back deck of our weekend base in Martinborough where we taught some classes this weekend.
The inky purple is a mostly merino (plus a little nylon) sweatshirting so it has a fluffy inside. The side panels are a glorious, digitally printed border viscose knit from Tessuti Fabrics. I think it was about $45m. Yup. And breathe!
 Because the viscose knit was pretty thin for winter, I underlined it with another purple merino. The two layers are sewn into the skirt as one, however not across the bottom.

The little tie collar is made from an offcut of the print. It has three pieces, so shoulder seams.
I am wearing a red V neck merino under it which slightly confuses the visuals, but again the sun is "all fur coat and no knickers" still.
I'm so in love with this dress - I literally stood in front of the dryer jumping up and down and willing it to get dry enough to wear on Thursday morning before having to give up and wear my other dress. Which I also love. But not quite as much. But don't tell it I am playing favourites.
I reckon I have a couple more dresses in me before I feel sufficiently dressed for the winter.
But for the rest of this week I am on costume duty. Coming up with a Constance version of this:

Monday, July 13, 2015

Winter Warmers: Footies

With due apologies to those suffering in Northern Hemisphere heat waves, it's freaking cold down under and my feet are suffering. So, I decided to make some "footies" out of merino. I bought a 5 pack of these foot cover things from a big box store and they are too big, and not as cotton as they say they are, and I feel I could do better.
The commercial ones. No they don't change colour on my feet, I was wearing odd ones!
Anyway, I bought some merino, although I could easily make these from offcuts or even an old merino top, I just don't have any here at work. And I made a pattern. It looks like this:
It's really easy to draw your own. the one tricky bit is how stretchy your fabric is - mine is typical one way stretch and that goes around the foot so this is what I did:
Draw a rectangle. The long side is the length of your foot minus 2cm. The width is the half of 75-80% of the measurement around the widest part of your foot - mine is 25cm so I made may pattern 10cm. (I have huge feet so don't be alarmed if your numbers seem much smaller - they are!)
Next, I measured the back of my heel from the ground to how high I wanted it to be plus a bit more, it came to 8cm. Mark that on one short end of your rectangle.
Now draw a curved line that goes down a bit then up at a bit past half way - like mine.
That's it! Put a Fold arrow on the long straight side as a reminder, and cut two out of your fabric.
 My merino has a backing on it which is lighter, so easier to see in photos. That's why I chose it, besides it is raspberry pink so YAY!
Now sew the short sides together like this - you could overlock but I"ve just done two rows of zigzag on top of each other.
Turn it so the seam is centred like this, and mark a curve at the same end - this is for your toes.
Sew and then trim your marked curve.
I cut a piece of fold over picot elastic slightly shorter than the curved top edge of my footie, and mark the centre with a pin. Pin this onto the spot where the seam is and attach the elastic, stretching as you go, with a zigzag. I find in these little jobs I don't have to pin, and the fabric stays in the fold over fairly well.
This is what I ended up with. 
Now fold the short end like this and sew through both layers including the elastic.
Squash the heel so the seam is centred like this, and sew across the triangle like shown. Not too much, just a little bit to get rid of a point at the bottom of your heel.
Snip the wee triangle off like this. And that is IT! Turn it right side out and:

Voila! One footie! No seams on the sole to be irritating either. And here they are on my undainty feet:

They are SO much nicer than the bought ones. Top Tip: wear these over tights, pantihose or knee highs and they are far warmer, and the under layer stops them slipping down at all. Perfect for inside boots too if you want a warm boost without socks showing!
And all for less than $1. :)
Last thing - here is a compare between mine and the bought one. The bought ones are far too long for me, but the fabric is two way stretch and mine isn't. If you try this with a two way, make is smaller - you could easily try it on once the elastic is on and pin the heel.

Friday, July 10, 2015

I actually made an actual dress!

Holy bobbins, Batman, I made a dress and I am blogging about it like a real sewing blogger!
How did this miracle come about? Well on Monday night I used the big tables at my sewing group space to cut out this dress:
When yesterday the weather was so nasty we had to cancel our trip 540km north to do a show, I used the bonus day to sew it up, happy in my sewjo. It's been forever since I made something not covered in sequins!

I like all the versions of this dress but of course I wanted to make a mash up - the long version but with the draped detail.

I did all kinds of daft things that come from not reading the instructions - like not allowing for the extra length caught up in the pleats, cutting the centre front skirt on the fold instead of cutting half of it. Both were easily fixed - the skirt was plenty long enough to trim and I just cut up the centre of the front and sewed it to the draped panel.
The pattern calls for a self lined bodice, but my fabric is so soft and drapey, I decided to put a band around the neckline like a t-shirt instead. With mitres for the three corners of the sweetheart.
So, do you want to see it?? Do ya?
 Note to Oona, low shots look great on gorgeous slim women, but not so much on us husky lasses ;-)
 Loving the draped pocket detail! The fabric is a mostly viscose knit with an almost brushed feel, making it punch above its weight in warmth. Do not be deceived by that sun - it is all show and no delivery! We'd be clocking about 8 degrees today.
 I made the sleeves a lot longer then added a 6cm band as well. It is darned cold here right now! Also, I am wearing a round-necked merino under it which is masking the sweetheart neckline.
 Looking for a Superhero from above maybe?
Back view.
I LOVE this pattern! Apart from the changes I made for my own amusement, I cut the size 28 and it was perfect.
All in all I am thrilled to have an elegant, warm winter dress that will be easy to look after. It's a little different with the drape detail, and it is a very useful pattern - I've already used the bodice bits to hack a bolero for Constance.
So, now my sewjo is back, what next? Well what you'll see next are a couple of unblogged projects. Chronology is not my forte ;-)