18 May 2016

Busy busy busy


As usual, life has been hectic and finding time to blog has been pretty low on the priority list. I have been working away on some sewing - mostly planning projects, cutting them out if I'm lucky and then they sit lingering away in the spare room with only the cat for company. Must. Do. Better.

But breaking news people: I MADE A DRESS IN ONE DAY LAST WEEK *gasp*. I managed to trace, cut out, and stitch that bad boy while my husband took my girl on a Daddy/Daughter outing and I finished it up in the evening. Not bad for someone who has only managed to complete one other garment since moving house (last October).

Day 16: lurex/cotton knit Coco dress (Tilly & the buttons pattern) and a hand knit cowl #MMMay16  #MeMadeMay16

It was my second time making the Coco dress so at least I had the pdf pages taped together. I made my other version while pregnant, so the fit of this one is quite different. I forgot to account for the stretch in my fabric, so probably should have gone down another size (or two) through the shoulders but now looking at the model pics of the Coco, it seems to be sitting the same on me... Overall I'm really happy with how it turned out. Another easy to wear dress is always welcome.

Oh, and I've been following along with Me-Made-May this year! So far these have been my outfits, when I've remembered to get pics:
Day 17: Orange/white/black dress - House of Pinheiro #MMMay16 #MeMadeMay16 Day 13: pale pink/black wool jacket - Vogue V2934 #MMMay16 #MeMadeMay16 Day 12: blue bird print, floor length wrap dress (can't remember the pattern) #MMMay16 #MeMadeMay16 Day 11: hounds tooth Yasmin yoke skirt - Maria Denmark #MMMay16 #MeMadeMay16 Day 10: broderie anglaise border print dress (McCalls pattern [can't remember the number!] as a base but omitted the collar and swapped out a circle skirt for a dirndl skirt) #MMMay16 #MeMadeMay16 Day 9: colour blocked merino Hemlock tee - Grainline #MMMay16 #MeMadeMay16 Day 8: aperitif bottles print repro Butterick pattern (can't remember the number) #MMMay16 #MeMadeMay16 Day 6: Scuba knit Paula pleats skirt - Maria Denmark pattern #MMMay16 #MeMadeMay16 Day 5: pineapple print Truffle dress - Colette patterns, handknit River cropped jumper - Rowan #MMMay16 #MeMadeMay16 Day 4: handknit scarf and leopard print Ooh La Leggings - Papercut Patterns #MMMay16 #MeMadeMay16 Day 2: Laurie tee, Named Patterns and harem pants, Ralph Pink #MMMay16 #MeMadeMay16 Day 1: leopard print Deer & Doe Plantain tee #MMMay16 #MeMadeMay16

It's getting pretty tricky to find self-stitched outfits now that the cold weather has finally turned up, but I'm quite surprised I've got as many me-made clothes as I have. Most of these I wouldn't normally wear so its been fun rediscovering things I've made and haven't been able to wear for the last couple of years due to pregnancy/baby weight. Also, I've been very lucky its stayed so sunny this late into May and getting use of some summery outfits.

I've found I've been gravitating towards knitting a lot more since having a baby, it just seems easier to pick up and drop at short notice and to fit into smaller chunks of time. Subsequently, I've been in the knitting zone so my sewing has taken a back seat. I'm trying to change this, however, and am very much looking forward to Indie Pattern Month starting in June! I'm busy looking into all the wonderful patterns on offer and deciding which competitions I want to enter.

Anyone else struggling to find their sewing mojo again after having a baby/dealing with a toddler?

11 March 2015

I'm back


Well, that was a long break. Who'dda thunk that having a baby would be an all absorbing, world changing thing to happen to a person? It's been 6 months of highs and lows and having the time of my life with this little monster.

I am back at work full time so my ability to fit sewing and knitting in is vastly decreased, but I am managing to get snippets of it done. The biggest thing I have made, by far, was a lace dress for my brothers wedding. As I had around 10kgs of baby weight left to go, I had no idea what size I would end up when planning my outfit for the wedding so opted to make it myself, allowing for final fit as close to the wedding as possible. It was a black tie dress code so not just any old dress would do. I chose the Anna dress from ByHandLondon and made it out of a navy lace, with a pale pink satin slip to wear underneath. I had already made the Anna dress before, so was familiar with the pattern, and I really wanted a long lace dress. I knew the simplicity of the Anna pattern would work well with the lace.

I was quite nervous about sewing with the lace as I had never done it before, but I didn't let that stop me. This lace was from Centrepoint Fabrics and once I saw it, I couldn't get it out of my head, it NEEDED to be made into my dream dress. It is very 'holey' though, which in hindsight was possibly not the best option to test my lace sewing skills...

I searched trusty Google for hints on how to work with this tricky fabric and here's how I accomplised making this dress with relatively little issues.

1. I made THREE freaking muslins to get the fit right. I am still getting used to my post-baby body and needed way more adjustments than my usual FBA and lengthen the bodice to get this to fit right.
2nd muslin, still not quite right

2. Cut out the pattern pieces following the outline of the solid parts of the pattern in the lace

Back bodice pieces

3. Zig-zagged most of the seams by overlapping the lace. I did this by sewing around the pattern in the lace, and trimmed away the excess for an 'invisible' finish. To know how much to overlap by, I machine basted the seam line on all lace pieces in a contrasting thread to be able to match up the seam lines. This was very time consuming sewing such squiggly seams, and used up a LOT of thread, but I'm happy I put in the effort as the seams truly came out invisible.

Can you see that shoulder seam???
Spot the seam stitching

3. Tissue paper is your frenemy. Friend: it makes sewing the 'holey' lace a hell of a lot easier as it provides traction for the presser foot. Enemy: picking teensy weensy bits of tissue out of metres and metres of zig-zagged seams is not an enjoyable way to spend your time. Especially while looking after a baby. A baby that can drag herself around the lounge floor collecting all the dust and crap (including the tissue paper dandruff) that lands there. And extra especially a baby who enjoys eating tissue paper....
Basting of seam lines and pleats with tissue paper
Pleats sewn together
Lining up 2 skirt pieces
Constructed in the middle of baby's play area...
4. Went with a lapped, normal zip, rather than the invisible zip the pattern calls for, for ease of insertion. I also used bias tape to strengthen the zip.
Almost done!

5. I changed order of construction slightly to leave the sides seams until last. This allowed me to get the most accurate fit, which was a good thing as over the 2 months spent constructing this dress I dropped almost 3 dress sizes!

This dress is definitely the hardest thing I've sewn to date, but only because of the care needed to handle sewing the lace, but it is the garment that I am most proud of. I felt amazing wearing it and best of all, I got to tick off one of my goals as being a Mum: wear matching outfits with my mini-me! My monster's dress was made by my good friend, Mallory Xavier (aint no way in hell I could've made both our dresses in time for the wedding).

I'm so glad to back in a place where I can spend (minimal) time sewing again :)

1 May 2014

Island time

Wow, can't believe it's been a whole month since my last post... time flies when you are having fun and I very definitely was - just got back from 10 days in the stunningly beautiful Rarotonga. Living on Island time has been bliss but back to (cold - literally) reality now. Prior to our trip I was so busy trying to fit in work, finish a swimsuit and get cracking on my April Monthly Stitch challenge garment that I didn't get a chance to finish a post. Oh well.

This is the Bombshell swimsuit that everyone in the sewingverse seems to have made! I really wanted a maternity swimsuit but balked at the $100+ price tag that they all seemed to be. I bought a couple of cheap bikinis in a bigger size but they weren't a great fit. When I checked out my local warehouse they had only maternity tankinis and none in my size so I decided to give swimsuit making a go, with the added headache of adjusting for a constantly expanding waistline.

Purple bombshell swimsuit
Purple bombshell swimsuit

I kinda went with my gut feeling on how to alter it and not sure if it will successfully see me through the entire pregnancy but it worked for what I needed it to do and doesn't look too shabby if seen from a distance. Yes, some of the elastic went in bumpy and the edges of the cups aren't the best but I made a freaking swimsuit, that fits my bump and didn't fall to pieces when I was swimming and snorkelling. It also held up at my antenatal aquarobics class. Oh, and it cost ~$50 which I feel is pretty good considering the trouble I had finding swimsuit fabric locally (thanks to the monthly stitch facebook group for helping me find the fabric!).

Purple bombshell swimsuit
Purple bombshell swimsuit

Le bump is around 23.5 weeks in the swimsuit pics so still got a ways to go, if it keeps growing at the rate it has the past couple of weeks I have no chance of still getting into these togs at the end.

Second Laurel
Yesterday on my last day off work, I finished off my sewing double (April) challenge dress - I made my second version of the Colette Patterns' Laurel dress. Excuse the pictures - I took these quickly at work (first day back and not particularly enthused about anything) and I think my camera is on the way out... My first Laurel (below, left) I made this time about 1 year ago and was the second dress I'd ever made. I feel like I've definitely improved, however, making modifications to woven patterns for maternity is a whole 'nother area I need to work on.

Laurels side by side
This recent Laurel is my first attempt at a non-knit dress for my maternity wardrobe and fitting it was a pain. I wanted it to be loose fitting so it gently skims over the bump but what I first cut out was massive and had huge pooling of fabric at the back - not a good look. I already had had to make significant alterations to the original Laurel, so making further adjustments for the bump and expanded ribcage/bust this time around was a nightmare...

Second Laurel

Meh, it's wearable, has pockets (POCKETS!) and I don't know how to fix up the neckline (might be to do with the denim being a bit too rigid??) so I'm not gonna fuss around with it anymore. I'll still count it as a success. Hahaha, can't seem to stay away from the polka dots!

Second Laurel

Oh yeah, and this counts as my first day of Me-Made-Maternity-May 2014 :) Since I've been sewing kind of consistently for the past year I felt I could probably get away with contributing to the Me-Made-May challenge: I aim to wear one item of me-made clothing each day for the month of May.  I will probably have to resort to "Mum-made" items (hello knitwear weather!) as my me-made wardrobe is still pretty small, especially with me well into my second trimester. We'll see how it goes....I'm now 24.5 weeks so will be hitting my third trimester by the end of the month, eeeeeek!

Anyone else out there participating in MMM-14? For those of you who don't know, Me-Made-May is a challenge created by Zoe from So, Zo... What do you know?, a blog I've followed for a while now :)

31 March 2014

Bossy results - stripes overload

Well, I actually managed to complete a challenge and with time to spare! I completed both the maternity top and skirt basically within the first week of March, but it's taken me this long to replace the battery in my camera to get photos uploaded... when the photos were taken I was about 17 weeks along - now at 20 weeks I've actually popped and look pregnant rather than I've eaten all the pies. Can't believe I'm already at the half-way point!


As a reminder about the March challenge, some of The Monthly Stitch contributors voted on what I should be making this month and the overwhelming winner was the Megan Nielsen maternity skirt and top. Not surprising really!

Both patterns were simple to understand and sew up, especially now I have use of an overlocker. I was a bit gung ho with the top and inserted one of the sleeves inside out, but I think that was the only issue I had. Looking back at the photos just now I remembered I also had to take in the arms as they were quite baggy on me - I usually have the opposite problem!! I made the top up in a size M, based on the recommendation to use your first trimester/early 2nd trimester measurements.

I think for the next time I make the top I need to narrow the shoulders/go down a size as they seem to be sitting too wide? There is plenty of room for the belly to expand so I'll stick with that sizing. I'm not really sure about the shoulder fix though so suggestions are welcome!


For the skirt, this fabric came free with the pattern, which I got off Trademe, already cut to a size S. The previous owner never got around to making it up and sent it to me for free (yay) so I figured based on my measurements I could probably get away with using it. I think it's fine for now, but not sure how far through I'll be able to wear it - I'm planning on making up the medium for my next skirt. I think I'd like a bit more ruching down the side as well so might need to find some stretchier elastic or just increase the length of ruched portion...

I used a twin stretch needle for the hems on both the skirt and top: my first time trying it. I like the finish but need to play around with the tensions some more because it comes out with a bump so I think the bobbin is pulling too tightly.

I actually also made a maternity dress based off these patterns (one of the suggestions that comes with the skirt pattern for modifications) but haven't had time to get pics of it. Next time I wear it I'll snap some and might even do a wee tutorial of how I joined the two to get the dress (the widths of the correlating sizes in the top and skirt don't match up so I had to do a bit of finangling) - would you be keen to see how I did it?


Lastly, I used a tutorial from the Megan Nielsen blog to make this two-seam tunic top - I kinda stuffed up the neckline measurements (was cutting on the fold and forgot to halve the diameter, whoops!) so it's now an off the shoulder top. I also braided the tie with matching fabric.

All in all, I think I only paid for the patterns (second hand - $22 for both) and the fabric for the last top ($4.80) so for all 4 makes this month I'm doing pretty good! Yay for an inexpensive maternity wardrobe :)

12 March 2014

Getting back into a sewing groove

Maya making herself at home in my sewing corner

It's been a while coming but I have finally managed to find a few weekends and afternoons to get reacquainted with my sewing machine. I have been feeling ok for at least a month now but the thought of starting a new project (even a quick one) just seemed too huge so I kept putting it off. Anyone else get like that once they've had a break from sewing of at least a couple weeks?

So, as you may or may not know I am attempting to follow all of the challenges over at the Monthly stitch but 2014 hasn't been easy so far. The February challenge was 'smarty pants' and I actually did make some 'pants' that month but failed to get any good photos.


What you can't see is that these are the harem pants from Ralph Pink. I figured they would be nice and accommodating for my growing belly. These were the perfect thing to ease myself back into sewing as there were only 3 pattern pieces and it was really simple to put together, even on my regular sewing machine. My only issue was that the fabric I used was way less stretchy than what was recommended for these pants, so I had to redraft the waistband and leg bands to fit. This resulted in a waistband that is too wide for me currently (the pants only juuuuuuust stay up) but shouldn't be a problem in the near future at the rate my waistline is disappearing!

I will try get better photos of the harem pants and I will update you on my March Monthly Stitch challenge makes later on this week. Here's a wee peek at what I've been working on.

In other sewing news, my friend Erin, currently living in England, was back for a brief visit a few weekends ago and turns out she has an overlocker sitting at her parent's place not being used. Guess where that baby has ended up? Yes, that's right - in my care!!

I had never used an overlocker before but Erin gave me a real quick run down of how it works so I've been getting myself familiar with it. I think it will come in handy for all the cute baby clothes I want to make!!

Yay for getting my sewing mojo back :)

19 February 2014

March challenge: Miss Bossy Patterns

Hi all!

This is just a real quick post to get YOU to vote for what I should be making for the upcoming Monthly Stitch March challenge. The idea is that I pick patterns from my stash that I have yet to make, and you tell me which one I should sew. It was a wee bit hard for me to choose patterns from my stash, even though I've got heaps I haven't made, as I have one very specific criterion for any future sewing: must be a maternity pattern or able to be made pregnancy friendly!

Yes, I am pregnant, roughly 14 weeks and have just got a teensy bit of a bump :) I found out at the start of December and absolutely no sewing was getting done, hence the silence on the old blog. I'm feeling almost 'normal' now, albeit a lot more tired, but should be able to keep up with challenges (fingers crossed).

So onto the patterns:

Simplicity 8497

This is an evening dress but I would make version 4 (short, sleeveless dress but with gathered skirt), probably in a cotton or maybe something warmer as we are heading into autumn soon.

McCalls 6282

Would probably make version B, undecided whether to do sleeveless or with short sleeves. I already have a slinky black knit fabric picked out or a crazy spotted patterned knit in my stash, either of which would work well with the drape of the cowl. Would need to add ruching to the sides and probably remove some of the waist shaping to get this preggo friendly, but confident I could make it work!

Megan Nielsen maternity shirt and/or maternity skirt (really easy patterns so will make both if this wins!)

Luckily I bought these maternity patterns off trademe just before this challenge was announced so they are still unmade. I was going to make both the top and skirt any way, but have held off to include in the challenge, so if these don't win I'm not too fussed; they will definitely get made up soon :) Also have stash fabrics that would work for both.

So please, boss me around :)

Which pattern should I make?

pollcode.com free polls 

20 December 2013

Mint aperitif party dress

Well, this is just a quick update before I'm off for Christmas holidays (can't wait!). I finished this dress in November in time for a 50s, themed bridal shower, which was a picnic at the beautiful Hamilton Gardens (followed by dinner, drinks, karaoke and dancing). Unfortunately I didn't get too many snaps as the weather was pretty shitty.

The pattern is Butterick B6582, which is a repro from a 1960 pattern, but the silhouette of the full skirted version is close enough to pass for the 50s!

I had to resize it quite a bit as based on the pattern measurements I should be a 12 (smallest size on the pattern I bought) but I guess there is a shit tonne of ease in there because it was 12cms too wide overall :( I couldn't figure out how I should've gone about reducing the bodice with the overlapping bits and the facings so simply took 6cms from CF and CB and redrew the angled line going across the front of the bodice. This meant the angle of the neckline isn't exactly even but I don't think it's too noticeable. The dress wasn't too difficult to sew up once I'd figured out the resizing.

I also managed (just) to make a petticoat to go with it as the skirt really looks better with the extra poufiness :) The fabric was this amazing mint green with little bottles (pretty sure they are aperitif bottles) all over it, which went perfectly for a hen's night I thought! I got it from the Whitianga op shop, I've found so many good bargains there.

I really want to make the wiggle dress version of this pattern but that will have to wait as I've got so many other patterns waiting in the pipeline! A couple more snaps from the picnic with the lovely bride-to-be.

Well that's me done for the time being, bring on the sun, sand and good times at the beach. Hope everyone has a safe and happy holidays. Can't wait to see all the rest of your festive season makes xxxx