Monday, 12 September 2011

Project Planning...

I haven't been participating in the Sew Weekly challenges for the past few weeks - have been super busy, and haven't felt that inspired by them, either. Next week's challenge is "Fall Colour Palette," and even though it is (technically) spring over here, I think I like fall colours more than the typical spring colours. I have a few projects I am thinking of trying, all of which I think may fall into the fall/autumn colour zone. At the same time, I don't really think about the season's colours when I dress, and especially with Melbourne's unpredictable weather, I am sure to get plenty of wear out of them throughout spring, and summer too!!

Here is the project I have been planning for the longest time, it is a jacket from one of the more recent Burda magazines:

Source: BurdaStyle

I have even traced out the pattern pieces, and I know I want to make it out of this fabric:

With a little photoshop magic, I imagine it will look a little like this:
There are 2 issues that make me reluctant to start this project. Firstly, I've never made anything with sleeves yet. I'm not super scared of them, and hope to make my first sleeved item soon, but secondly, the magazine I have is in Russian. I do read in Russian (slowly), but for my first sleeved item I would at least like to make sure I definitely understand the instructions!!

So, there is also this option, Simplicity 8249, in this blue leafy fabric:

This also has sleeves, but at least it is in English! It also has a collar, which I have never done before either, and buttons, which I have attempted with only a little success. And as you can probably see, the fabric is quite see-through and will need to be lined. So... it will depend on if I am feeling adventurous! 

If, as I suspect, I decide to just go with something simple, I think I will go with this, Butterick 6730, probably in view B:

It even says "Fast & Easy!"   I actually love the styling in this - the obi belts, and those shoes on B! I would love to make a matching obi-style belt!I am thinking of using this maroon polka dot fabric for the dress:

Not sure what colour to make the belt in though... 

Which of these projects do you like the best? Are you participating in next week's Sew Weekly fall palette challenge?

Sunday, 4 September 2011

The That 70's Dress

A week late again, but I have finished my project from last week's Sew Weekly challenge, making something inspired by the 70's! I think doing a project every 2 weeks seems to work well with my timetable, so I'm not going to stress about it :) Having said that, I have 4 assignments due over the next 3 weeks, so I think I will be giving next week's challenge a skip, too!

Fabric: Thrifted polyester, ~60c
Pattern: Simplicity 6672, View 2, 20c
Year: 1975
Notions: None
Total cost: ~80c

Things done for the first time:
  • First time making a dress
  • First time adding armhole facings
Things I could improve on:
  • Hemming
  • Tracing patterns
There were a few markings I forgot to transfer over the first time, whoops! But that wasn't too hard to fix. I may end up re-doing the hem - it looks a bit uneven across the front to me, and I didn't really measure it....

Changes made:  Due to fabric restrictions, I made the dress quite short! It is 20cm shorter than even view 1! I also omitted the back zipper (can still get it on easily!) and the buttons on the front.
Changes I should have made: If I had more fabric, I would love to have made it longer, and matched the fabric on the seams too!

Here is me attempting my best 70's style Charlie's Angels hair flip....

...they make it look easy!

Overall I loved this pattern, and I think the fit is great, too! I'm looking forward to making it in some natural fibres for summer, and I would love to try one in the maxi length.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Project Planning - Seventies dress

The theme for the Sew Weekly challenge this week is 70's! This is good news for me, as most of the patterns I own are from the 70's, 80's and 90's (since I try to buy them for 50c each or less, and these are the ones that end up in the op-shops around my area!). I decided I wanted to try to make my first dress, but I also wanted it to be quite simple. I settled on Simplicity 6672, that I recently bought in Canberra.

Source: Vintage Pattern Wiki
I think I will make the short version, but without the sleeves - I'm trying to tackle just a few new skills with each project, and I might leave sleeves until another time!

As for fabric, I wanted something with a 70's feel that would still be wearable today, and that wouldn't be too hard to sew with. I think I might try it with this fabric that I picked up at an op-shop a few weeks ago:

The only thing is when I tried laying the pattern pieces out, they didn't quite fit on the fabric... They did seem quite long though, so I think I could shorten the dress and make it fit!
I was excited to discover that Peter from Male Pattern Boldness has used this pattern to make a dress for his identical cousin Cathy! I can only hope I will look as good in mine :)

Friday, 19 August 2011

The Red Bow Top

Yay! A week later than I had expected, but I can finally show you my latest creation! It is a top inspired by Sarah's "Married to the Music" top, made with the sorbetto top pattern, that I made out of an old bedsheet that had ripped the first time I had tried to use it. It was supposed to be for last week's "Peer Review" challenge on the Sew Weekly, but better late than never, right?

Fabric: Bedsheet
Pattern: Sorbetto from Colette patterns
Year: 2011
Notions: Bias tape, made myself
Total cost: $0!!

Things done for the first time:

  • First time making a top
  • First time sewing darts
  • First time using bias tape
  • First time making my own bias tap 

Things I could improve on:
  • Making bias tape
  • Using bias tape!!

I had to redo the bias tape because I cut it too narrow the first time and was having a lot of trouble sewing it on! The second time around it was much easier, but it is definitely not perfect. 

Changes made:  I extended the pleat so it would wrap over and behind the neckline a little, and added a bow to sit underneath the pleat. Also cut the armholes a little larger.
Changes I should have made: Cut a size larger, or maybe extended the length of the straps. The darts sit a little high, and the armholes are still a little tight.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Project Planning - Red bow sorbetto

Sarah Gabbart's "Married to the Music" Top, Sew Weekly
This week, the Sew Weekly challenge is to create something inspired by a piece from the Sew Weekly archives. Given all the talk of the wonderful sorbetto pattern by Colette patterns that has been going on recently, and the fact that I have never sewn a top before, I thought I would try making something using that pattern. As I was looking through the archives, I was stuck by this top made by Sew Weekly contributor, Sarah Gabbart. It is simple, but stunning, and she used the sorbetto pattern!

At this stage, I'm still planning the elements of my top, but I think I will keep the centre pleat as in the original pattern. One thing I know for sure is that I will add a bow! Or multiple bows!!

Here are some other ideas for bow placement that I like:

Small central bow as in view 3:

Source: Vintage pattern wiki

Or a larger central bow:

Or maybe on the straps:

Ted Baker top
As for the fabric, I have a burgundy bedsheet that tore the first time I tried to put it on my bed :( Probably not the best quality fabric for a top, but I'm happy to consider it a (hopefully) wearable muslin! I hope I will be able to get it done on the weekend, as I won't have any time later this week - I am going to Canberra to watch my fiance and brother complete in a national fencing tournament!!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

The In Full Bloom Skirt

This was my second ever sewing project, and the last sewing project I completed before starting this blog, so with this post I have now caught up and you have seen everything I have ever sewed outside high school sewing classes!

Here's my version:

Fabric: Floral cotton from Spotlight, $3/metre
Pattern: "In bloom" full skirt from Handmade magazine
Year: 1988
Notions: Invisible zipper from Spotlight
Total cost: ~$10

Changes made: I lengthened it a bit.
Changes I should have made: Cut a larger size in the waistband, it's a little tight! Also, my invisible zipper insertion needs work :)

The Shaped Pocket Skirt

This week, I made this skirt! Inspired by the Sew Weekly theme this week - western!

Fabric: Some sort of denim-like dark purple material, thrifted for 60c
Pattern: Waistband from a Handmade magazine pattern, pockets from Casey's shaped pocket tutorial, rest made up!
Year: Waistband pattern was 1988
Notions: Buttons, thrifted for 50c
Total cost: $1.10

You can see the pockets better here:

And here:

Pretty cool, huh? I followed the same scalloped design as Casey used for her skirt, and added some decorative embroidery. It was my first time making something with pockets (or with buttons, for that matter!) so I was pretty happy with how they turned out.

The buttons could definitely have been done better though, and I'm not sure I love the positioning of the pleats. 

When I was making the pleats, I just placed the skirt fabric on top of the waistband and played around until I liked the effect. I forgot to take into account though that I was looking at the pleats from the inside of the skirt, so they came out the opposite way to what I had planned! I decided to just leave them though. Lesson learned. 

Have you been taking part in the Sew Weekly challenges? What are you planning on making for next week?

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The Patchwork Apron

Quite a while ago, I don't remember exactly when, I was helping mum sort through her cupboards and came across her fabric collection, including some fabric scraps and pieces not big enough for anything substantial. It got me thinking about patchwork, and for some reason I got it into my head that I wanted to make a patchwork apron. I came up with a design, drafted a pattern of sorts, and got to it! Considering this was the first sewn item I ever made by myself (excluding high school home-ec) I think I did a pretty good job (though I won't show any close-ups)!

The bodice part is made up of 4 squares, and the skirt is made up of 4 rows of squares, sewn into strips and gathered (if anyone is interested, I could post a tutorial). I used a rotary cutter and mum's ruled cutting board to cut all the squares out, which made it quite easy! 

Here I have the straps crossed over in the back, but the straps themselves aren't sewn to the waist ties - the bottom of each strap is just a loop that the waist tie can be threaded through. Due to this, you can wear the straps as I am demonstrating, or as straight straps, or as a halter neck!

What is the first garment or item you remember independently sewing or otherwise crafting?

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Rīgas Modes fashion magazine - 1975

My mum recently spent a while in Latvia visiting her parents, and helping them clean out my great-grandmother's attic. While there, she happened to come across a fashion magazine from 1975 Soviet Latvia, with the dress patterns still stapled to the middle, and she brought it back for me! While some of the styling is.....interesting to say the least (check out the front cover!) some of the images, especially the illustrations, really appeal to me. So here is a collection of a few images I hope you will enjoy! Each of the outfits is numbered, and where the number is circled, it means the pattern for that outfit is included in the magazine. Scroll to the bottom to see a sample of what the pattern sheet looks like - quite hard to follow! Also, interestingly, there appear to be no instructions!! So, I guess I will wait until I have a bit more experience before trying some of these patterns! :)

Here is the cover. The title is in Latvian, with the Russian translation underneath, and the rest of the magazine is in Russian. Rīgas Modes means "Riga's Fashions." Riga is the capital of Latvia, and is where I was born!

This is one of the illustrations the magazine contains. I love all the jackets!

Another, very colourful illustration! The title on this page translates to "Outfits for every day."

This spread is part of the "Outfits for every day" feature. The hairstyles and hats are quite cute!

This page is an advertisement for a Polish clothing company, so none of these outfits are inluded in the pattern sheet. Unfortunate, as I love the red coat with the pleats on the back on the top of the right page!

The title of the following page reads "From black and white material." Each of the dresses here feature removable collars and cuffs, and there is an instruction sheet further on that tells you how to make them (the only set of instructions I could find in the whole magazine!)

This is my favourite set of pages in the whole magazine. Isn't the illustration beautiful? The dresses aren't what I would usually associate with 70's fashion!

And, if I decide to endeavour to create one of these outfits, here is what I will have to deal with! Quite a lot busier than the pattern sheets I am used to dealing with! 

I find it interesting that most of the pictures do depict items that look "70's," even though my ideas of 70's fashion come from the fashions in America at that time, and this would have been published during the Cold War when limited information was coming into the USSR from America and other Western countries. I wonder how the fashions came to develop along such similar lines, or whether there were a few sneaky seamstresses smuggling in fashion magazines from overseas for inspiration?

Friday, 29 July 2011

The Pleated Full Skirt

Remember this skirt? Well, without further ado:

Tada!! I finally got around to making it.

Fabric: Striped cotton poplin from Spotlight, $3.50/metre.
Pattern: Tucked full skirt from Handmade magazine
Year: 1988
Notions: Zipper from op-shop, $0.25
Total cost: ~$7

Changes made: I decided to only do 2 tucks on the front panel instead of 5, although I'm sure it would look nicer with more, as well! It was just that for some reason I imagined that it had a flatter front than the instructions suggested.
Changes I should have made: No major ones! Maybe I would make the waist not as high the next time, but I like the empire style it creates.

I am quite happy with how it turned out in general, and while I am intending on wearing it with tights and boots for the remainder of winter, I am looking forward to wearing it this coming spring. Oh, yes, don't let the pictures deceive you, it is still pretty cold here in Melbourne! So I will leave you with a more realistic idea of how I will be wearing the skirt in the coming weeks:

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Project Planning - Pleated full skirt

This is the skirt I am planning to sew next, as it appears in the S/S 1988 edition of the Australian Women's Weekly "Handmade" magazine:

My mum has a few of these old magazines, and a few of them contain some pretty patterns - whenever I visit, I take copies of the patterns that catch my eye. In fact, the last skirt I made was from the same magazine (I'll be posting pictures of it sometime soon!).

So back to this pattern - they call it the "Roses - Heaven Scent" tucked full skirt. I have decided to make it in a striped version, as I noticed that striped pleated skirts keep catching my eye:

Source: Anne M Cramer
Source: etsy
Source: etsy
Here is the fabric I am planning on using, along with a zip and the photocopied pattern:

It is not much of a pattern - really more of an instruction sheet, since it is really just 2 rectangular pieces of fabric. Hopefully it should be pretty easy to put together... as soon as I can get around to it, that is! Although I love the idea of sewing, and I love the finished result, and (most of the time) I enjoy the process of sewing, I find it takes a lot of time to get me going. Once I start, though, I can't wait to finish, and will usually not stop until I get it done!

How do you motivate yourself to start your next sewing project?