Saturday, 14 October 2017

Tiger Stripes for an Urban Jungle

Recently(ish) for a University assignment, I had to use fabric to create a 3D shape using the theme "Urban Jungle" and some sort of fabric printing. Naturally, I chose to make a garment for my assignment, and drafted up a simple princess seam sheath dress with cap sleeves, using pieces from 3 different patterns, and grading up slightly.

Original Sketch
The center front, center back and sleeve pieces were cut from some black drill from my stash, and the front and back sides were cut from some mystery cotton type yellow fabric I found in the supplies at Uni. I then traced the side pieces onto a very large piece of paper, and drew out my design for the tiger stripes, then cut them out, stuck the paper to a screen and carefully screen printed the stripes onto the side panels. Once the paint was dry, I carefully pressed each piece to set the print, then took it all home to sew together.

Construction was super simple, and I finished the neckline with a scrap of whimsical black and white striped bias binding. Although I had intended to make this dress to fit my pre-pregnancy body, I had included a little too much ease, so when I finished sewing it up, I decided to try it on just to see. 

And wouldn't you know, the damn thing fit almost perfectly! So it seems I can't make things that don't fit, even when I try.

A few weeks after getting the dress back from being marked, a friend's eldest daughter was turning 18, so we headed to the pub for some karaoke (as you do) This was pretty much the only time so far this pregnancy that I have bothered curling my hair and making an effort, so my dear hubby snapped a few quick photos for me (these were actually when I got home afterwards)

20 week baby bump!
I haven't taken many bump photos so far, as I don't really have that cute little bump thing going on, what with being plus size already, but it is starting to look like a proper bump more and more these days (I'm almost 23 weeks now!)

I have a couple of maternity things I have sewn so far, although admittedly not much, my sewing room is a bit neglected these days. So I will be trying to keep posting, however sporadically here. Also, while I have not yet done any more work on my vintage cyclops pram project, my hubby and father-in-law have decided to finish it for me as a father son project, so I will try to keep you all updated on that as well.


Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Maternity dress hacked from B6094

Ever since I saw this maternity dress made from vintage Simplicity 3345 on the WeSewRetro blog way back in 2015, I wanted to re-create this pattern for when I eventually needed maternity wear.

As it just so happens, I am now 13 weeks pregnant! (however, I sewed this up some weeks ago when I began showing)

I used Butterick 6094 as the basis for the bodice, bringing the bottom edge of the upper bodice piece up by 4 inches to a point in the centre, replicating that point with the waistband piece as well. The back bodice piece was changed drastically, adding a round neckline and flaring out from the shoulders right down to the hem, although if my fabric was more constrained I could cut the back skirt separately. The front skirt is just a rectangle the width of the fabric, which is cut coming up to a point at the centre, 4 inches higher than the sides. A tie on each side, and a bodice lining is also used. I won't go through the construction, as it is quite simple, but rather, just leave you with some photos of the dress on my mannequin

I unfortunately got a few puckers in the point on the bodice, but didn't bother trying to fix them as I was only sewing this one out of threadbare old sheets as a test of the pattern. I kinda now wish I had, as I have worn this dress numerous times, and the puckers annoy me. I'm also annoyed that I was too lazy to put pockets in this dress, however, it is still a favourite of mine to wear.

I did sew in a short zip at the back of the neckline, but I haven't actually needed to use it, as the flare in the back provides enough room to pull the dress on over my head 

I already have another of these cut out ready to sew, but I have been lacking in motivation lately, as this pregnancy is just making me so darn tired all the time! They say that eases off in the second trimester, so I will hopefully be getting some more maternity sewing done for myself.

Has anyone else made some cute maternity wear? I'd love more suggestions.


Friday, 7 July 2017

A Nightie from Burda 7109 and some new vintage patterns

Recently, I found myself wanting a long cotton nightie, so I pulled Burda 7109 out (which I have used previously for pyjamas) as well as a length of floral cotton (purchased from an op shop) as well as a piece of pink lace and some bias binding.

This was a very quick sew, I had it completely finished in one afternoon, so I didn't take any progress photos. The construction is basically just shoulder seams, armhole binding, neckline lace and binding, then side seams and hem. I did add one in seam pocket to the right side of my nightie, as I am constantly needed a pocket to put my phone in, and sleepwear generally doesn't come with pockets. I made a size 22 this time (used 18 in the top last time) as I wanted this to be very loose and unfitted.

I was also super lucky to find 7 awesome vintage patterns while op shopping yesterday morning, for the amazing price of just 50c each! While they are all small sizes, that never deters me, and I know I will be grading some of these beauties up when I next get a chance.


Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Scallop front dress from a 1957 Australian Home Journal

I realise my blog has been sorely missing much Vintage sewing content of late, and I'm pretty sure that's why most of you are here, so apologies for the lack of it recently, I will attempt to fix that.

In a bout of procrastination when I should have been studying for my uni exam, I had a look through my fabrics and patterns for my next project, and chose Frock 5048 from the October 1957 edition of Australian Home Journal (the same edition the pattern from my floral green gingham dress came from) as well as a lovely floral poly cotton that I purchased from Lincraft roughly 2 years ago.

As this pattern is for a 40" bust (it's a Matron's frock, but I hardly think she looks matronly) I had very little grading up to do, merely adding a bit of width here and there, But I still diligently traced out all the pieces so I wouldn't damage the original tissue pattern, and would have the graded up version on file in case I want to make this again. I got all my pieces cut out, and started on the bodice darts and tucks, before getting back to my study (and the of course going to my exam)

Once I had finished up my uni obligations for the semester, the very next day I went back to work on my dress. I pressed the bodice darts and tucks, then sewed the shoulder and back neck/under collar seams, eased on the sleeves, attached the cuffs, then sewed the side seams. Next I made the pleats in my skirt pieces, attached the pocket pieces, sewed the skirt pieces together and attached it to the bodice along the waistline seam. I then sewed on the upper collar/front facing pieces, but when it came to turning out all those scallops, I had an idea.

After clipping all the corners and turning them right side out, I cut a piece of cardboard (from a block of lindt chocolate I happened to have on hand) to roughly the same shape as one of the scallops. I then used this cardboard template to insert into the inside of the scallop and push the edges out neatly and uniformly, as I pressed. 

Now I won't say they all turned out perfectly, but that probably has more to do with my stitching than my pressing, but they definitely all look much neater than the scallops on a previous outfit, so I am happy with this technique, and will certainly use it again.

At this point, I put the dress on my mannequin, pinning the front shut, and had a look though my stash for some appropriate buttons. To my dismay, I couldn't find many options that were both a matching colour and big enough size for the scallops. I ended up with 2 options, pale pink polka dot buttons or some medium green buttons, and posted on instagram and facebook to ask for people's opinions. Within minutes, it seemed that the green had everyone's unanimous vote, so I decided to go with that option. By this point it was evening, and I didn't think it was a wise idea to attempt buttonholes when tired, so I left it until morning.

The next day, I sewed the buttonholes, then used them as a guide for placing the buttons, ensuring they would all line up. Then all that was left to do was to sew on the buttons, sew up the front of the skirt and hem it. Unfortunately I did not have enough fabric left over to make a self covered belt for this dress (unless I piece it together) so I am hoping to find a suitable green belt to match the buttons. After wearing out the next day, I realised I will need to add a hook and eye at the waistline at the front, as it pulls open ever so slightly.

I haven't yet managed to get any modeled photos of this dress, as it has been quite cold and wet here for the past few weeks, but I will hopefully update this post when I do.


Thursday, 8 June 2017

A 14th century cotehardie

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine asked if I would sew him a fitted cotehardie. Well actually he asks me to sew plenty of things for him, but this one I actually did. He had already bought Reconstructing History's men's cotehardie pattern about a month beforehand, and had the fabric (calico lining and off white herringbone weave cotton for the outer) so on an organised "making day" at his house, while others worked on archery related projects, I measured him up and got to work.

He fell almost spot on in the size chart for the 38 inch chest, but his waist measured for the size above, so I cut the calico lining out based on those sizes, although I needn't have worried about the waist, as we ended up taking the waistline in quite a bit to make the cotehardie well fitted through there. Once I pinned the pieces together and he him try it on, I took in about 1/2 an inch at the waistline at the back and both side seams. I also trimmed almost an inch off the shoulders, as they were sticking quite far off. Based on the measurement of his upper arm, I cut out the next size up for the sleeves, but found they were still a bit too small for him, so cut them out again, another size up, and adding extra width at the fore arm and wrist, and about 2 inches extra length.

Once I was happy with the fit of the lining, I then cut out the outer pieces, and only just had enough fabric, with very little wastage. The construction was very simple once the fit was sorted out, as we were only making the shorter version (so no gores to deal with) so it was just the shoulder and side seams of the bodice, then sewing around the outside of the lining and outer, then turning right side out, pressing, sewing the sleeves together, then to the bodice. Then all that was left to do was the hand worked eyelets and to hand sew the turning hole closed.

I got about half the eyelets done by the time I called it a night (I had been working on it at home that evening) but then finished them up in the car ride to Blacktown Medieval fayre the next day, and my friend then wore it while we were there, and we were both super happy with the look and fit of it. 

While overall the pattern was quite good, and included a couple of pages of research into the cotehardie at the beginning of the pattern, and I did like that it didn't have massive amounts of ease (except maybe in the waist) like some patterns, there were a couple of things that could have been better. On each pattern piece, the size is only marked on the line in one place, and all the lines are the same plain black line (no differing colours, weights or dashes/dots) which made it difficult for my friend to follow which line he was supposed to cut (yes, I'm mean and made him cut out the paper pattern) However, I did like how they explained how to fit the pattern, and think most of the instructions are quite good for beginners.


Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Me-Made-May Conclusion

May 29
I wore polka dot jeans and a white store bought singlet, as I was working on a uni assignment that involved woodworking, I didn't want to get any of my me-made shirts dirty or damaged. Not sure I would ever be bothered to sew my own basic things like singlets, when they are so readily available, but even if I did, I wouldn't be willing to ruin them with paint anyway.

Photo from when I first made this dress

May 30
After workshop I changed into my red check Butterick 6094. For a while I had put on too much weight to wear it comfortably, but I seem to have lost enough recently to wear it again, yay!

May 31
Wore my polka dot jeans and white singlet again, as I was doing more work on my Uni assignment (in fact I spent the next 3 days painting and sanding more layers on it)

While I certainly found this year's Me-Made-Made to be less difficult than previous years, I still would like to make more winter outerwear as well as winter pyjamas to complete my me-made wardrobe. Although I have almost finished making a new jacket, I have been far too busy with end of semester assessments and exam study to finish it, but hopefully will find some time to do more sewing in the upcoming school holidays. I found at the end of the month, I still had plenty of me-made outfits that didn't get worn, but could have, so I certainly have enough outfits to get by (although that won't stop me making more) Now that I have submitted my last 2 assessments for the semester, I have already begun  sewing some new projects, which you will all the seeing here soon.


Monday, 29 May 2017

Me-Made-May Week 4

May 22
For classes on Monday, I again wore my yellow, orange and pink Butterick 6167

May 23
After Workshop on Tuesday I changed into my red and green Simplicity 3107 for the remainder of the day. At the medieval club meeting that night, I made myself some viking rus trousers, and a pair of calico braies (basically boxer shorts) for a friend.

May 24
I wore my yellow and red gerbera dress again for another lazy day around the house.

May 25
For a day of lounging about the house and running a couple of errands, I wore my pink wrap dress, pattern available from here.

May 26
On Friday I wore my Leopard skirt and off white shirt, neither of which have made it onto the blog. The Skirt is a half circle skirt with in seam pockets, make from a soft and stretchy leopard print fabric. Due to the stretch in the fabric, when I made it I didn't bother putting in a zip. I chose to wear an easy, comfy outfit, as we had archery practice, and then an evening of learning to sing medieval (and medieval-ish) songs.

Made by Kelly at Make it or Cake it

May 27
Saturday, I managed to sleep in and run 2 hours late for a friend's birthday party. In my rush to get out the door, I threw on my Kitty B6167, as it was convenient. Despite that, I still got there in time for cake! (which was an awesome chocolate mud with raspberry ganache, decorated to look like a Hawaiian shirt)

May 28
Just spent the day at home, so I simply wore my Kitty B6167 again

So, we are almost to the end of another Me-Made-May, and while I certainly don't feel as challenged as I have in past years, there are still a few things I would like to get made to complete my wardrobe, but I am happy with how much of my wardrobe is already me-made. It's making me feel inspired to donate even more of my store-bought clothing that is sitting, unworn, in my closet.


Thursday, 25 May 2017

Me-Made-May Week 3

May 15
For Uni on Monday I wore my new coral floral dress that I finished last week, paired with yellow cardigan (not made by me, but still handmade) and managed to take a quick selfie in a bathroom mirror, so you can at least see what the dress looks like. It has a halter strap, and boning in the bodice, and while the fit isn't perfect, it is good enough, and has enough in built support that I can get away with not having to wear a bra with it (which is good as I hate wearing strapless bras) I had developed a bit of a cold over the weekend, so I was feeling pretty awful, and decided after attending my lecture, that I just wasn't well enough to attend class after, so I had lunch with a friend, then headed home early instead.

After having a 2 hour nap when I got home, I decided I was feeling well enough to go to the SCA dance practice evening that is on Monday nights (despite protests from my husband not wanting me to go out in the cold night air) However, I changed into my navy pants and blue kitty pussy bow blouse (layered with my blue slip underneath) so that I wouldn't have bare legs or upper chest.

May 16
After workshop, I changed into the skirt from my blue suit, and pink kitty pussy bow blouse for the remainder of the day, although I did also wear my store bought hoody later in the evening.

May 17
I was still feeling pretty crook on Wednesday, but my husband wanted to go out for lunch and a bit of shopping. I didn't feel like wearing a dress that day, so I wore my polka dot jeans, pink stripe top (which I made some time ago, but have not blogged about) and denim jacket for a more casual look. Yes, I was rocking double denim.

From last May when I wore this
dress to Lifou

May 18 
Spent the day at home, mostly working on an assessment that was due Friday night. Wore my comfy yellow check with red gerberas dress, that I haven't blogged about making, but which I have worn previously during Me-Made-May last year

Photo from when I first made this
May 19
Again, spent the day working on and finishing my uni assessment. I got it done, maybe not to the level I would have liked, but my cold was making it very hard for me to concentrate, so I was just happy to get it done. Wore my navy swing pants and blue kitty blouse again.

Cutting out the Cotehardie

May 20 
Saturday was mostly spent at a friend's place, where we were having a "making day" for our archery group. I ended up making something completely unrelated to archery, as my friend had bought Reconstructing History's men's cotehardie pattern, and had some fabric, so I worked on that for the day while I had him there to fit it to. I did make some slight alterations to get the fit right, but I will probably write a separate review post about that pattern. Other things that got done on the day were; making bow strings (twisting strands of elastic and splicing them), Arrow making, wool luceting and metal plates for armour being cleaned of rust and painted to prevent more rust. Because I was worried about getting my clothes dirty, I wore an old stained off-white shirt that I made years ago, paired with a red gingham circle skirt, also made years ago (before I had an overlocker!)

That's a well-fitting cotehardie,
if I do say so myself!

May 21
On Sunday, myself and 2 others decided to go for an impromptu trip to Sydney to go to the Blacktown Medieval Fayre. I managed to finish off the hand worked eyelets on my friend's cotehardie during the drive, so he was able to wear it while we were there. I was pretty happy with the fit once it was done, and I think he loved it. I wore my brown and gold houppelande that I made the week before Rowany festival, and finally managed to get a photo of me wearing it.

I still have a few Uni assessments to work on, but I am also finding a bit of time for some sewing for myself. I have just started on making another jacket from Butterick 5824 (used previously to make my wedding jacket) using a floral fleece blanket I purchased from Best and Less last winter. I haven't cut out the lining yet, but I'm considering using some plain pink polar fleece from my stash, to keep it nice and snuggly. That should help me fill part of what is missing from my me-made wardrobe, although this year I am less concerned with replacing my store-bought items, if they are still in usable condition and fit me well.


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Me-Made-May Week 2

May 8
As the weather has now turned cooler, I was able to wear my navy swing pants and striped pussy bow blouse to University. I have finally got back in the habit of setting my hair in curls, so wearing this outfit, pearls and curls, I was beginning to feel more like myself again after a very busy few weeks. I even passed one of my workshop teachers on the way to the library, and she said she almost didn't recognise me (keeping in mind she only ever sees me in my workshop clothes and hairnet)

May 9 
After Workshop in the morning, I changed into my Dracula Dress for the remainder of the day. I started drafting a pattern for a Gambeson as part of my armour for combat Archery. It is essentially a padded jacket that you wear either under or over the required armour, to provide more coverage and padding.

May 10
Wednesdays tend to be lazy days for me, I spent most of the day in my pajamas, just throwing on my Dracula Dress again to head to the supermarket in the afternoon.

May 11
On Thursday I caught up with my mum, and an old friend I hadn't seen in years, at the Maitland greyhound races. I wore my Mummykins and me Madison dress and matching Denim jacket. We only put $1 bets on some of the dogs, but we did win a little bit back.

May 12
Didn't get up to too much on Friday, although I did dye a few pastel streaks in my hair. When I wasn't dying my hair, I was wearing my kitty print B6167.

May 13
Instead of seeing my mum and grandma on Sunday for mother's day, we decided to schedule our brunch for Saturday instead. I wore my yellow self drafted shirt and Elsie George resort skirt (that I made) I then headed to combat Archery practice (a bit late and a bit tipsy, oh well)

May 14
I had a pretty bad day on Sunday, so I just hid in my sewing room in my pajamas watching movies and working on my gambeson. By this point I had most of the pieces assembled and quilted, with just the sleeves left to quilt.

I'm loving that I can start wearing certain things again now that the weather is cooling down, but at the same time, I really need to get a start on some winter sewing that I have had sitting in my sewing room for a while, but couldn't motivate myself to do during summer. Unfortunately now I have Uni assessments to work on, and what sewing time I do have, I have been using for SCA (medieval) stuff.


Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Me-Made-May Week 1

So here we are at the start of another Me-Made-May!

While I left it until May 1st to comment my pledge on So Zoe's 2017, and haven't yet posted anything to my blog, I am once again participating, with the same pledge as last year:

"I Dixie O'Dare, of, Sign up to participate in Me-Made-May '17. I pledge to only wear me-made clothes every day for the duration of May 2017"

First day of Me-Made-May

May 1
I started out the week going to University wearing a dress I have not yet blogged about. It is Butterick 6322 (another Gertie pattern) made in a delightful yellow cotton printed with toadstools, strawberries, acorns, snails and butterflies. I made this months ago, but haven't yet managed to take decent photos of it for the blog yet. I did however wear a store bought cardigan, so maybe it wasn't the best start to the month. Every year I find I need some me-made cardigans, and I still have not done anything to rectify that. I guess while I still have perfectly usable store bought ones, I can't justify spending money to make new ones.

May 2
Unfortunately, Tuesdays mornings for me are spent in the industrial technology workshop, which means I have no choice but to wear store bought Australian Standard work clothes. However, I nearly always change afterwards, so I brought my floral sun frock to wear. I am very glad I remembered to take a change of clothes on this particular Tuesday, as I had been using the lathe in the workshop, and had been covered in sawdust from using it. 

May 3
Did some yard work and moved the caravan to under the carport (so we can work on it more easily) so for practicality sake I wore my polka dot jeans and a store bought shirt.

May 4
As I was planning to work on some more plaster casting for a Uni assessment, I decided to wear a dress that I wouldn't mind getting plaster on. The vintage floral sheet I used to make my version of McCalls 6236 already had a few specks of white paint on it (I didn't realise when I was making it) and while they aren't noticeable to anyone but me, I figured it made this the perfect, cute, but not too precious, dress for the day

May 5 
Spent most of the day in my pajamas, threw on the sun frock from a few days before to duck to the shops to buy groceries. Found a dress that I had cut out and started sewing one day when I was at my grandparent's place babysitting my cousin's kids, so I decided to finish sewing it up. I had just quickly self-drafted it at the time, out some floral furnishing fabric that was in the spare room. The bodice isn't my best example of drafting, and it's a bit big in the waist and a bit snug at the bust, and just a bit too low cut for some situations, but regardless, the dress still turned out pretty cute.

Embroidery progress and the skirt of my new dress

May 6
And so I wore it the next day to Archery practice with some of my SCA friends. I curled my hair again for the first time in about a month, which always makes me feel better about myself, combined with the new dress, I felt positively adorable! I didn't get a photo of this new dress, but I did photograph some of the skirt here with the embroidery I was working on.

May 7 
Decided it was about time I made it to one of the region's SCA meetings (and not just the Uni ones on a Tuesday) so drove to Newcastle, wearing my cute Kitty Print B6167. Learnt how to set up my inkle loom, and how to do some basic tablet weaving, which I am pretty keen to get into more of. I only used part of my loom for my first attempt, but when it is fully set up, my loom can fit about 6m of weaving on it! Afterwards, a few of us went out for dinner, where I did wear my store bought hoodie, as it got pretty cold once the sun went down.

So I haven't managed much in the way of outfit photos so far, but I have been mostly sticking to only wearing me-mades. To be fair, this year doesn't seem like much of an effort, as I have mostly changed over to a me-made wardrobe anyway. How is everyone else's Me-Made-May going?


Thursday, 20 April 2017

Rowany Festival

Sorry for the lack of updates lately, I have been a very busy little bee!

This Easter Weekend just past, I attended Rowany Festival, which is the biggest SCA (Medieval re-enactment) event in Australia. There were around 1000-ish attendees, all dressed in medieval garb, some even with period accurate camp set ups. I unfortunately didn't take any photos, as I didn't want to lose or damage my camera, and turned my phone off for most of the event to conserve power. So here are a few photos from other members of my camp.

The Barony of Mordenvale's campsite
Photo by Alexous Ofuri

Watching court, you can see my big bum in the blue plaid,
with 2 other people from my camp
Photo by Nicole Flood

2 of the guys demonstrating some swordplay
Photo by Nicole Flood

Me and Nicole
Photo by Quinn Ortega-Edwards

One of the Artisans building a forge

One of the teams during morning war
Photo by Nicole Flood

I managed to quickly make a houppelande from a doona cover set I picked up second hand for $12 a few days before the event. Most of the cutting out of the pieces I did during some spare time at uni, and a majority of the construction happened during meeting time for the uni SCA group, with only the hem being done at home, and the neckline and belt hooks and eyes being hand stitched on the bus ride to festival.

On the line drying after being washed. There is also a belt in
the same gold flocked brocade.

Bell sleeves and a very full skirt

 With this additional dress, I had 3 complete outfits to wear, which only meant I would have to re-wear 2 of them. My first outfit of course was the one I made for Winterfest last year, the second was one I made for the SCA newcomers event earlier this year and haven't blogged about. It consists of a white chemise, this time made from essentially an over sized T-tunic with a gathered neckline, a bodice/pair of stays made from calico and a brown wool petticoat.

Also on the line drying, and in desperate need of a press.

This does lace fully closed, and the next one I'm working on I
am working on is a bit smaller and shorter in the back

I had a few other items I had started making for festival, but either didn't get finished in time, or I lost interest in them as they weren't turning out as I had hoped. I may or may not get them finished in the future, we'll see I guess.

Other than preparation for festival and the festival itself, I haven't been up to much else apart from University study. I have been trying to limit myself to not sewing anything if I have assessments that need to be done, otherwise I would never get them finished on time. I have started on another Butterick 6167 (yes, another!) in an adorable Cat print quilting cotton from Spotlight. After being away from my sewing machines so many days, I really needed a nice quick sew to feel some accomplishment. It's almost finished, with just the zip and hem to go.

I am already dreaming up plans for garb and camp set up for festival next year, so hopefully I get myself organised during the year and don't leave it til last minute (like I usually do)