Friday, February 29, 2008

Origami Dress - Part 2

Drafting the Pattern

As I mentioned yesterday I am using this pattern as my base. In the end all I used was the SF & SB bodice pieces and extrapolated/drafted the rest. I wanted the skirt to have bit more of a flick at the sides than the original. To make the center front and back I used a mostly straight up and down piece. I thought a 2:1 gather would be appropriate.

There were two major problems with the center front and center back panels. The first was that it was too large and the second was that it wasn't gathered enough. I have pulled the bobbin thread tighter in the above photo, but it is still gaping. You can also see that I flipped out the skirt way too much.

Those black circles are magnets to weigh down the fabric by the way.

Alterations were then made to narrow down the skirt and I decided to belt the middle as this dress will not be worn without a belt, so major design flaws aside, what is looks like without is fairly irrelevant. And yes the tape measure was the only appropriate thing I could find at the time! :o)

I really want to forge ahead and make a material version of this dress with the alterations, but Mixie is coming tomorrow, so I will see how this is fitting then.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Origami Dress

I was reading Sigrid's blog yesterday, which led me to Berry's blog, which led me to Christina's blog, where I found this dress:

I emailed the picture to Mixie who asked if I would make her one. I loved the dress too, so I thought why not give it a go. The worst thing that can happen is that is doesn't work, and the shape of the dress is very forgiving for any sizing issues.

For the base pattern I decided to use the Laura dress from Burda Style. If you haven't already I higly recommend having a look at They have lots of free patterns for good quality, well designed clothes.

Clearly there were going to be quite a few adjustments that need to be made. Including
  • Omit pockets and buttons
  • Replace center front and center back panels with gathered panels
  • Redraft center front panel
  • Combine skirt and bodice pieces to remove waist
  • Add weaving and change belt.
Really it is a guideline more than anything else. It has the right sleeves and a 6 piece skirt design.

Once I get the pattern worked out, the dress itself is fairly basic. There are no darts in it so an FBA won't be necessary.

For the belt, I doubt I will copy that exact origami pattern, but I will find something I like. The origami part doesn't scare me. Although I don't do origami that often, I haven't found a design I couldn't complete yet. I will starch the fabric into oblivion so it folds nicely. I know this will work because I used to use way too much starch when I first started working, clothes sure can get crisp!
Here is a close up of the belt buckle. I like the design, but I don't like that you can see the stitching. I think I will hand stitch it from behind to keep it in place. I can't really know for sure until I start playing with the design though.

I am that stage now where I have cut all the pattern pieces and I am redrafting them to fit. This will be a very good challenge.

Ava's Winter Wardrobe

There are 3 months until Winter now, so I thought it was time to start planning Ava's winter wardrobe. I started by doing an audit of what she had and found she had 4 pairs of jeans in different colours, 1 corduroy pant and jacket set and one long sleeved shirt. Not bad, but she really needs more long sleeved shirts.

I had enough fabric for one shirt in my stash, so some serious shopping was needed. I tried in vain to find a good online fabric store, but the shipping from the US was a killer, and the lovely people on the Pattern Review forums couldn't really suggest any in Australia. I'm sure it doesn't help that because I am shopping for Ava I don't like to spend a lot of money on fabrics. If I am lucky she will get two years wear out of it. I might think differently if Mixie had girls, but she is determined that their house will be filled with boys (yes I do know you can't really determine this, but I am not sure Mixie does!)

Around this time the latest spotlight catalogue came out, so my MIL and I decided to go on a long drive (3 hours round). I came back with enough fabric for 3 shirts and one pair of pants for Ava. I think a couple will actually end up being shirt dresses so she can wear them over tights or pants.
Three jersey knits and one corduroy

Some sheep flanalette for some pyjama pants for Mixie

I couldn't resist this sheep fabric. In fact I had a hard time picking just one. At $5 a meter I might mail order some more. Its super soft and they had so many cute designs to pick from. The only thing that concerned me about this obvious night wear print was that on the selvage they have written, "not intended for children's sleepwear". I know we have fairly strict rules about flammability in material, so I will assume it has something to do with that!

I am about to embark on a fairly ambitious project, but it will be a whole other post on its own which hopefully I will get up today.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Mixie is getting married!

My sister Mixie is getting married in September and I am actually starting to get excited. (She will fall off her chair in shock when she reads that). I think its just that she is starting to get to the good bits in the planning stage, like the cake and dresses. Lately I have helped her pick the cake she/we are going to make. It is from the Martha Stewart website.

This cake deserves a mention in the crafting side of my blog due to the fact that we will be making and painting all those little cherry blossom sugar flowers. I will post pictures once we start the process and you can watch as we get better and better leading up to September. Luckily every man and his dog is having a birthday between now and then. Can you guess what type of cake they will be having?

As I mentioned the other exciting thing is the dresses. Mixie got hers sorted a long time ago. She is getting a Wendy Makin dress. She is having a champagne coloured gown with green bead lace overlay. I could be wrong about that actually, but I'm sure she'll correct if I am. Around the same time she picked her bridal gown, she also got material for myself and her one other bridesmaid. I've only seen it briefly so I can't really describe it, but she promises me some photos are on the way. My mum is making Ava's Flower Girl dress.

Mixie has left it up to us to pick the pattern and get the bridesmaid dresses made. So I have been searching for patterns.
This was my first pick, but unfortunately the lace is not scalloped

So now it is a pick between the black Butterick and the black Vogue pattern. Both are boned, but the skirts are a little different.

Okay, so I can't wear strapless dresses, genetics and having a child have taken care of that! Useful when all the nice formal wear is either incredibly low cut or strapless. So I need to raise the height of the front panel (don't want cleavage showing) and also attach straps, but Mixie doesn't want the straps so thick that it takes away from the elegance of the dress. It will be a balancing act.
I was thinking the straps from C might be good.

It is probably worth noting at this stage that I intend to make my dress in its entirety out of similar fabric before cutting the final product. There are no second chances with the fabric Mixie bought.

Switching courses entirely now, Ava wore her shirt dress for the first time today. Other than being too big, it was incredibly cute. I think I will have a bit of a hunt for some shirts and see if I can make a couple that fit well. No pictures, but it was sufficiently worn in by the time she came home from Day Care!

Friday, February 15, 2008

The neccessity of pyjamas

I love to read other people's blogs, especially the sewing blogs. I love to read on as they turn a piece of fabric into a truly awesome creation and I dream of one day doing the same thing myself. There are a few things that stop me from doing this now, most importantly being I can't justify spending a long time sewing for myself when I am in the midst of losing weight. It just seems like a waste of time.

Having said that I did get a chance to sew for myself this week when my favourite pyjama pants gave up on me.

I love my Hello Kitty Pyjamas

I loved them to death!

I did think about darning the hole in the pants. But eventually I realised that the fabric was so worn as soon as I fixed one spot another was sure to appear. I had some bright pink cotton that was too pink for even Ava, so I decided to make new pants. I looked at patterns online but for $16 for a basic sleepwear pattern, I could just go buy new pants. Especially when all the patterns were pants and a simple t-shirt. I looked through Mum's old patterns, but they were all for long flannel numbers, so the only thing to do was rip up the old pants and use them to make a new pattern.

The original pants had an elastic band at the top, but I wanted drawstring due to shrinking waistline. Subsequently there is an extra 10cm (4") added to the top of the pants to make a casing.

There really wasn't that much more to it. I cut out the material and sewed the pants up. All the seams were made with a running stitch followed by overcasting the edges. The hems and top casing were doubled folded and kept closed with a running stitch. I decided the drawstring would just be a white ribbon and used the automatic button hole on the sewing machine to make the openings.

Unfortunately I had already stitched the casing closed. I remember when I was planning it out thinking I would have to stitch the holes for the ribbon before I stitched the casing closed, but I have a memory like a goldfish sometimes! So I un-stitched everything and fixed it up. I'm quite happy with how they turned out. They fit well and they are super comfy.

We got a few other things this week when we bought thread for the pants. I found this handy little thread organiser for $5. I had run out of room in my old one and I didn't think that this seemed too expensive. I have nothing to compare it to though, I've never bought one before.

I've noticed lately when I take Ava places people like to give her things. I'm not sure why, but I'm not complaining either. I just hope she doesn't get used to it. When we went to the craft store she was given this cute little wrist pin cushion. Of course she told the lady at the store she didn't want it and refused to say thank you. But by the time we got home she was proudly wearing it and calling it her watch. I sent an email thanking and apologising to the store. I hope they get it.

It curls around your wrist. It reminds me of those slap bands that were so popular when I was little.

I'm contemplating appliquéing some of the Hello Kitties onto the new pants, but other than that there is not much going on here. I'm planning on doing the SWAP competition next year. But that is a long way away.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A place for everything and everything in its place

I just had to quickly share this photo of Nutmeg. That is my pattern on the dining table with my roll of muslin next to it. This is what happens when you don't put things away, they get covered in kitty drool.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Lady Jane and Golden Hands

I have a new friend. Her name is Lady Jane. Well actually her name is Ese-Jane, but that just sounded wrong. So henceforth, Lady Jane it is.

Yes I am one of those crazy people that names everything. All our fish have names, I named my cello when I was at school, heck I even named our first born child. Oh wait, that last one is normal...

Back to Lady Jane. She's a dress form. It was in the back of my mind that one day I would get a dress form, but they seemed to be around $250 new, so it was in the pile with an overlocker, My Label software and an embroidery machine. All nice things, but not urgent. Then my fabulous Mother in Law told me she had seen one down at the local recycling centre. Of course that was on Saturday night and I had to wait until this morning when they were open again. I was trying not to get my hopes up, but at the same time I was excited.

I knew that Lady Jane wasn't going to be in the best shape and she's not. After all, recycling centre is a nice way of saying, "things that have been brought to the tip, but that we think someone might buy". But structurally she is doing great. Or as one lady that was standing in line with me said "Its nothing that a little W-D-40 won't fix." I am not entirely sure what that is, but handy people drop it like a celebrity's name, so it must be good. I can't decide whether to pull her apart and recover her or try and leave her in tact and clean her up. Okay so I've prepped you and now I can reveal her in all her glory! She cost $10 by the way.

It's my photography that's crooked here, not the dress form. We can be the same height.

A shot of her innards. You can't really tell, but she is fiberglass with stretch material covering.

Okay so she may need a padded bra...

Not sure why there is one brown panel, I think it might be sun-bleached.

On a sort of related note, I just had a random thought. I could sell my handbags (from a less thrifty era of my life) and use the money to buy an overlocker. But no, I think I will just keep scouting Garage Sale ads. End random rambling thought.

Golden Hands

I visited my lovely mum over the Australia day long weekend and she gave me a lot of stuff. Patterns, Top Kids Magazines and some Golden Hands magazines from the late 60's. They were my Great Aunt's and are in fantastic condition.

Once you get past the 60's fashion, crocheting and knitting (one day I will learn those arts) the sewing section is fantastic. The detail on fitting, correcting, choosing fabrics, its all great. I mean, I've sewn my own clothes and clothes for Ava, but I never fully understood how to correct fitting problems. I always just followed the pattern and ended up with a garment. It either fitted or it didn't. I'm quite excited to learn proper sewing techniques.
Appliqué Designs

Blouse fitting

There is even a section on fitting skirts on little girls with big bellies. :o)

And lastly some shots of Ava's new headband in action

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Headbands and Hairbows

We have been relatively powerless here from Friday night to Saturday night. There were occasional one hour blocks where it would come back on, but for the most part we were stuck in the sweltering hot with no electricity.

Luckily it came back on about 6pm last night and we have had no outages since. I haven't found any media reports to explain why yet but the news around town is some nong in an excavator plowed through numerous power lines and cut off the whole city's supply. The upside was I didn't have to cook last night. :o)

This is my kitty, Nutmeg sleeping on my chair. She has an inbuilt radar and everytime I get up she jumps on and makes herself comfortable.

Yesterday afternoon in an optimistic fit that the power might stay on, I decided to make Ava some headbands. Typically the power went off just as I was sewing the first seam. So I decided to make her some hair bows instead. I've never made them before, but I thought it couldn't be too hard. And it wasn't. You just loop, loop, loop and sew. I thing a good craft glue would have been better for the final middle ribbon, but I didn't have any on me at the time. I also didn't have any clips or barrettes, so these are just pictures of the ribbons waiting to be attached to something.

This is made from the leftover ribbon on Ava's play suit. It will eventually be sewn to a flat hairband of the same fabric as the top and shorts.

White ribbon with silver trim

Then I made another and attached it to a hairband.

Eventually the power seemed to be back on for good and I finished up the headband I was sewing. This is the final product

As I was sewing the long straight simple lines I thought to myself that this would be a great sewing project for an absolute beginner. For instance when your son/daughter first says they want to learn sewing.

I will include the instructions just in case someone wants to know how it was done.
  1. Measure your head along the path the head band will take.
  2. Cut a piece of elastic to that size. I used elastic that was 1/2 inch wide.
  3. Cut two strips of material twice as long as the elastic and wide enough that the elastic will sit in the casing once sewn.
  4. Put your material right sides together and and stitch up both sides. Do not stich the ends together yet.
  5. This is the casing for your elastic. Now you have to turn it right side around.
  6. Start by turning one end inwards. Catch that end with a long safety pin and slowly turn the casing back in on itself.
  7. Thread the elastic through the casing with a safety pin.
  8. Sew the elastic to one end.
  9. Bunch the material up over the elastic until the safety pin comes out the other end.
  10. Sew the elastic to that end
  11. Double checking the size on head and the sew the ends together.
  12. And there you have it, a bunched headband.
If someone wants me to repost this with pictures, just leave a comment.

In an effort to make correctly sized clothes for Ava I decided it might be a good idea to actually measure her. Revolutionary idea I know. Well now I just feel sorry for her. Poor thing she is 2 and she already doesn't conform to society's measuring standards! She is a size 1/2 in the chest, a 2/3 in the hips, a 2/3 in height and a 6 in the waist. She was a little bloated that day, but still it explains why she always pulls her pants down so low!

So now I am sure sure she needs a proper fitting for the jacket and I will get back to cutting that when I am done typing this.

On a parting note I am officially jealous of anyone that lives in an artistic area. We went to our local markets today for something to do. I was devastated. Everywhere you look it is just people importing junk and reselling it. Nothing unique and nothing homemade. Okay well there is some things, but its a vast minority. *Sigh*

Thursday, February 7, 2008

My Talented Family

I would like to do a series of blog posts on their different talents. I haven't asked them yet, but provided they say yes, this is what will be featured

My mother-
Accomplished in dressmaking, embroidery, cross stitch, quilting and appliqué.
My sister-
Beautiful scrapbooker and card maker
My mother in law-
Knitter, Toy maker, jewelry maker, cross stitcher, Fimo artist, pot designer, used to paint animation cells
My Father in law-
Where to start... Animator, woodworker, puppet maker, Fimo artist, painter, actually that list might get too long, I think he's tried everything.

If they all say yes then I guarantee lots of gorgeous pictures and stunning ideas. Fingers crossed.

Back to me now, me me me. I bought the interfacing and muslin for Ava's jacket today. I. decided that I would make a muslin of the jacket for a couple of reasons. One, the pattern for the jacket is sized 3 - 8, so I really don't want to cut it, I can trace the pattern onto the Muslin. Two, Ava is still quite comfortable in size 2 clothes. While I want the jacket to have a little growing room, I don't want her to swim in it. It would look terrible. So I am going to cut and fit it before making the final one.

I really like the pattern and know it won't date quickly. In fact I have seen it in several seasons' pattern books already. Hopefully it will become a versatile pattern I can use for 5 years.

I really lacked photo inspiration today!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

I'm lusting after...

This Software

I don't even know why considering I have no interest in making clothes for myself right now and they haven't released the children's module yet. Oh and it retails for $A600. I need an overlocker first.

For my Mum
Speaking of overlockers... When you read this Mummy dearest, you really need a new overlocker, yours is looking terrible! But I know how you worry about the environment, so I'll take the old one off your hands so it doesn't end up as land fill. I know, I know, I'm the best daughter ever, but its the least I could do for you! Lol, you're not falling for it are you mum?

My mum asked me on the phone today what projects I had finished lately, I said "You mean since yesterday"

So now I felt like should make a post even though I have nothing new made. So the rest of this post will be photos.

Firstly, this weeks Op Shop finds:

A dress pattern I got for 20c

A couple of meters of thick navy fabric.

Fabrics, 50c each. Navy as above, 1m grey skirt fabric, 3m green stretch T Shirt material, 2m Garish yellow fabric I couldn't resist

Detail of Garish yellow fabric (I love it)

3 Pillowcases

A couple of metres of pretty fabric. Might be good for Ava blouses. I saw cute matching strawberry buttons at the material store too.

I also went and picked up the pattern for Ava's winter coat today.

I will be making Coat D. I should have run when I saw how thick the envelope was, but I didn't and now after reading the instructions I am glad that there is 4 months until Winter starts. I will make it from the Navy material above. Our Winter is very warm, the weather could be described as brisk, so the jacket doesn't need to be too warm. Any suggestions for lining would be appreciated. Both for colour and type of fabric.

Blogs I am liking

My father in law just handed me a beautiful old Origami book so I will have fun with that tonight. Now Ava wants stories, bye bye

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Red and blue looks good on you (Another new dress for Ava)

I know I said Ava wasn't getting any new clothes, but I had a bountiful trip to the Thrift store when I went out to get the Mail yesterday. Here is the dress she ended up with:

Here you can see the front pleat

A nice shot of the back, but it does highlight how it is too big.

The back hanging up

I owe the inspiration all to this site. I'm sure one day I will come up with my own original idea. Until then, thank goodness for the internet!

The Process
  1. Go to Op Shop and find good quality/condition men's shirt with back panel
  2. Pick trim to go with shirt
  3. Follow instructions in link (I'm feeling lazy)
  4. I used this pattern to form the skirting in the dress
  5. I also didn't elasticize the sleeves as I wanted something straight.
  6. I replaced the buttons with Red ones to keep with the contrast theme
It ended up being a size 3/4 rather than the 2/3 I was aiming for. I'm guessing that has a lot to do with the fact that I used a loose fitting size 3 pattern as the base. I'll know for next time.

Cost of Project
  • Shirt = $3
  • Thread = Free from stash
  • Rick-rack = $3 (I paid too much)
  • Buttons = Free from stash
Total cost = $6

It was a size XL shirt so I have lots of left over bits as well as the original pockets. That is for another project. More on that later.

Thanks for any comments. It makes me feel special. I am such a dork!!

A couple more photos.

Here are just a couple more photos of the top from Ava's new set. Here you can see how it actually sits, if it wasn't too big for her that is.