Merry Christmas!

With only a few hours until the big man slides in through the back door to leave treasures for the kids, I’d like to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and New Year with your family and friends.

This is my annual ginger bread house, made from scratch, for Christmas dinner at mum and dad’s house. You can see my previous houses here and here. I’d like to think I’m getting better, but that is not the case. This year’s royal icing roof, covers my failed attempt at piping shingles, which was my failed strategy for hiding the slightly burnt roof edges.

Drive safely!

Vogue 1395

This project has been bubbling away in the background for a few weeks and I finally finished it off today. I purchased Vogue 1395 pretty much as soon as it was released. The style of this frock, by Rebecca Taylor, is just my style. A little sack like, but with some waist definition and interest.

The fabric I used was a random ‘find’ from The Remnant Warehouse. I blogged about it here. It’s a polyester print by Sydney designers Bec + Bridge, who I don’t follow (you can see their dress made with this fabric here. I think mine is better!). I knew when I saw this fabric that this would make a perfect casual summer dress and I wasn’t wrong. I think I may wear this on Christmas day.

Many reviews of this pattern noted the excessively large arm holes, which tastefully show off your bra, and I found I had the same problem. To remedy this, I simply took up the shoulders by a little over an inch. Unlike others, this didn’t impact the neck line too much and I really like where it sits. This is possible because I am not as tall as others.

The other knock on problem from this change was losing some of the bodice length. To fix this, I sewed the waist seam rather scant and just zig zagged the elastic onto the waist seam allowance rather than making a casing. The length of the bodice is perfect, which I am pleased about because I didn’t have any additional fabric to recut it.

I self lined the skirt with the larger white pieces of fabric which bordered the central print. As there wasn’t much to cut into after centering the bodice and skirt pieces, I was left to piece together the skirt lining. This isn’t ideal, but it works and it saved my going to the fabric store to buy lining.

To give the dress a clean finish, I flat felled some seams and used a mini one needle overlock stitch on my serger, like a rolled hem.

If you live in Sydney, you would know that today was just glorious. Unfortunately, my limited photography skills made my first round of photos positively luminous! You can see the detail in this pic right?

And before I go and try to squeeze in a little more sewing before tackling gift wrapping (ugg!), how wonderful is this fabric?? My friend Rachel gave me this from her stash for Xmas. I love having sewing friends! It’s a Liberty silk crepe and it is just divine. I think it would look perfect as another Vogue 1395, I just need to devise a way to lined the ties as this is not a double sided fabric.

Only 3 sleeps to go!!

Top 5 2014!

Normally when I post photos in swimwear, I have a post planned right after to knock those photos from the top of my blog. I guess I was too keen to post my new togs this time and have been bogged down this past week, unable to photograph a couple of items and unable to sew much more than Xmas gifts. So really, it seems like a good time to talk about some of my Top 5s for 2014, which is again being hosted by Crafting a Rainbow.

Top 5 Hits

Denim Pencil Skirt

This skirt has been worn so much since it was made. I – love – this – skirt. It is perfection. I plan to make another, which is why I kept hold of my second double ended zipper. The only change I’ll make to my next is that I’ll probably use denim with a little stretch for additional comfort after a big meal and I’ll add a coat hook and eye to the top of the zipper again, which I added only a month or so ago, as it prevents any zipper slippage during wear.


Swimmers

In this country its essential to have good swimmers if you want to frolick in the rough Sydney beach waves with the kids. I’m so, so pleased with these new swimmers. Every so often, when sewing, we achieve the exact outcome we were planning. This is one of those times. They fit perfectly and I LOVE them.

Confetti dress

This is one of my more recent makes, but it definitely one of the most complimented ever. I hope to make another just like it, but that depends on finding the right knit fabric. Ideally, I’d like another in an ITY knit. Fingers crossed that fabric crosses my path.

Shirts/Shirtdresses – Archer, Alder, Vogue 1387

I couldn’t pick just one shirt or shirtdress, so I picked my favourite three. I really love making and wearing shirts. They are also so well suited to Liberty, which is obviously one of my favourite fabrics to sew with. More of these will come in the new year.

I’ve made a few of these self drafted tanks now and I wear them frequently. I love the style, which seems to be quite on trend at the moment. They are also perfectly suited to work (no gaping when leaning over) and to my existing wardrobe. 

Top 5 Misses

These are a little harder to pick. The more years I sew and get to know my style, the fewer misses I create, but never fear, there still are some emerging from my sewing cave.
Biggest FAIL ever! Nuf said. It’s in the bin.
I has such high hopes that these pants would be versatile everyday pants, but they just aren’t nice to wear. I don’t like the poly feel of the Style Arc bengaline fabric and I don’t really like the plain style with no detail. I think I’ve worn these only once. I don’t even know where they are.

Valerie Top

This is a fabric fail. One wash and it has pretty much ruined. I believe it was my machine, but still to make something and only get one wear out of it is crapola and in my opinion, a fail of time.

Sew Dolly Clacket – Simplicity 2591

Another fabric fail. This time quilting cotton. I only used it as I had it sitting in my stash. I don’t like the feel of the fabric so have already passed this dress on to a new home.

Two completely unworn dresses 🙁

I’m very sad to report that two dresses made this year are still yet to be worn, and I’m not sure they will be worn. The first is a Dandelion dress that just doesn’t feel right to wear. I might try and see before I repurpose or pass it on. The second hurts more as I worked really hard to get the detail spot on with this denim shirtdress – flat felled seams and all! Unfortunately I feel I hemmed it a little too short and the collar, which I drafted my own collar stand, just doesn’t sit right as it’s a little too large for my neck. I’m also not a fan of my contrast facing choice. Oh well, gotta lose some right?

Top 5 Highlights, Reflections, Goals.

I’m not sure I can separate these and fill all three categories, so I’ll mash them together here.
 – Highlight – my new kitchen and renovation, which I will photograph one day to share with you. It has been life changing and worth every cent
 – Reflection – I think it’s important not to get caught up in the hype of whats trending in blogland with patterns, styles and fabric. Be real about your own self, what you need and what you really think you will be comfortable in. Also, before shopping for new patterns, check your stash. Often just a few changes to an existing pattern will achieve a similar result to many new styles around these days.
 – Goal – I will sew a French style jacket next year
 – Goal – I will make my husband a shirt

If you’ve made it to the end here, I’d like to say thanks. Not just for reading this post, but for reading my blog this year, contributing comments and just being there to say ‘hi’. I really enjoy keeping my blog, almost as much as I love sewing. I’m sure I won’t be around too much more before Christmas. Like all of us, things are kinda manic around here, but I do have holidays starting shortly. Yay!! I look forward to reading your Top 5s. I find them a great insight into what works and what doesn’t after a garment has been blogged.

Swimmers – Kwik Sew 3609 & 3416 again

My last swimmers were a trial run for these, which have been made with some simply divine swim fabric from Tessuti.

When I posted these swimmers on Instagram, Sophie mentioned that this print is a Zimmerman print, which makes me feel kinda smug that I now own Zimmerman-ish swimmers without the $300 price tag. (For your reference, you can see the Zimmerman togs made from this fabric here and here. Now that I know that Tessuti has sneaky designer swim fabric, I also noticed that my previous swimmers are also made with Zimmerman fabric which you can see here and here, though I prefer mine).

Anyway, back to this make. I enjoyed a surprise day off work this week when James vomited in the school car park. I really took advantage of this day and pretty much knocked these up in full. I’m really not sure how I would have finished these without that day. Adele bugs me a lot while I sew these days, styling my hair, cutting fabric, sitting behind me on my chair or just talking all the time, so I’m not sure I would have made much progress with her around.

As with me last swimmers, I mashed the top of Kwik Sew 3609 with the bottom on 3416. Unlike my previous version, I only gathered a center panel on these swimmers and left the side and back un gathered, which is more like my inspiration swimmers from Seafolly. I really like this and hope that it will wear better when they are wet as my first gathered version sagged.

The fabric was a little tricky to work with as it was one of those mirrored prints, which you can see on the third photo of the Tessuti listing. The last thing I wanted was any symmetrical flowers over my bust or for that matter, anywhere else on my body. So instead of centering all of my pieces, I centered none. I intentionally cut every piece off center and it worked. My inner OCD really struggled with this!
You know I am super pleased with these togs. I really think they are flattering and will be wonderful this summer. I have more sewing to come. I love this time of year. Everything is so much easier when Summer holidays are in sight!