Saturday, 31 December 2011

Tulip skirt part 1

When I was getting fabric for an unrelated project, I was called to the most beautiful fabric that I have ever seen - a cotton voile with blue and purple tulips.  So, because I have no self control, I bought some, along with some plain white cotton for underlining/lining (what do you call it when the lining fabric is included in the pleats at the top with the main fabric, but is hanging free for the rest of the skirt?)
It was a very wide piece (not quite 150cm, but nearly!), and I got 1.5 m of the fabric

I ended up making a skirt that was a cross between the Ooobop! floral mini (tutorial here) and Nette's Go Parisienne skirt.

(Left: floral mini.  Right: Go Parisienne skirt)

Sashes on skirts annoy me because they dig into my back and I can never make them sit right (so I suspect user error rather than a fault with the sash itself!), so I used the floral mini tutorial for the main skirt and then the bow that Nette used at the back of hers to add something special to the back.

I made this skirt a bit longer than was suggested in the original (40cm from the bottom of the waistband to the hem, instead of 32cm) so I can wear it to work, and also made the waistband a bit wider - mine was 13cm when I cut it, so the actual band on the finished skirt is 5cm wide instead of 3cm finished width as suggested.  The waistband circumference was 72cm, and I have decided that next time I make this I'll make it sit on my waist instead of somewhere between my waist and hips!  I also didn't use interfacing in the waistband because of the stiffer fabric I used as an under layer.

To make the pleats, I marked every 2 inches along the top and made a box pleat in the centre front (or two knife pleats butted up against each other facing different ways, if you like!) and then knife pleats all the way around.  It sounds very bizarre when I'm explaining it, but it worked!

I had a lot of dramas installing an invisible zipper in this skirt- here is my first attempt at it. 

Even though I was positive I was doing it properly, and used the foot correctly and everything, it's not very invisible at all!

Two more tries and three broken needles later, I gave up and just installed it like a regular zipper.  I'm not sure what the technique is called, but you end up with two little flaps covering the zipper teeth - it's the method that they use in all of the Butterick patterns.

The side seams on the tulip fabric and the cotton are French seamed, and the centre back seam is done with a technique that I made up myself (because I was stuck, haha) - basically a baby hem at the seam allowances, and then treated the new edge as the raw edge when I was sewing it together.  So I now have another item of clothing to add to my 'no raw edges' collection - a slight obsession of mine at the moment!

Unfortunately I don't have any photos of it on me, I'm waiting for my sister's good camera be able to talk to the computer again so I can coerce her into taking some for me!

So here are a couple of photos of it on my oddly-shaped dressmaker's dummy, a little crumpled from being squished in my wardrobe, but still beautiful!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Bodice draft 2

Disclaimer: this post contains a goofy half-smile, black bra underneath cream fabric, and black strapping tape - if you are shocked by any of the above silly looks, please stay away!  Haha.

Here we go - I'm much much happier with the fit of this one.  I raised the neckline 1.5 inches, lowered the point of the bust darts by about 1.25 inches, adjusted the bust darts so that instead of straight legs they have bent legs (like in this tutorial by Gertie at Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing), let out 0.5 cm from either side of the bust darts... and I think that's about it!  The darts weren't done in the highly mathematical way as described in the tutorial - I tried doing it like that and still couldn't get it quite right, so I just pinched off the fabric into a good shape for my body and it turned into that shape so I went with it!

The end of the darts looks not quite right in this picture but I've since pressed and re-pressed and re-re-pressed them, and it's finally sitting properly.

In regard to my gapey back problem, I took about 1.5cm (I think?) off either side of the centre back seam, tapering down to the original seam allowance just above where the waist darts end, and I think that's just about fixed the problem without completely restricting my movement.

In other exciting news, I have acquired the fabric - it's a satin charmeuse, from Spotlight, and it's lovely!  Plus, it was on sale for about $6.50 a metre instead of $12.99, which is brilliant considering how much I need - 4m of black and 4m of teal/peacock.  Hopefully I've done all my calculations correctly and I don't need to go back and get more! 

As before, any input on the fit of the bodice would be much appreciated, before I cut into my main fabric, hopefully sometime this week.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Choir necklaces

These darling little necklaces are one of my recent crafting activities.  I made at least 20 of these for the directors of my choir and the group of choirs that I'm in, our accompanist, and the members of my choir.  Of course, they are in my choir colours of teal(ish), white, and black.
I made them following this magnificent tutorial that I found on Pinterest.  I used 22 gauge silver-coated wire instead of the recommended 24 gauge (because I couldn't find any) and it worked perfectly fine - the only small problem was that my fingers were sort of sore afterwards!  Of course, I also used round-nosed pliers and the ones with the bent head - I don't know what the name of that one is!  I just call it the bendy one, but I know that's not what it's supposed to be called.

They have a small jump ring attached to the top, so that they can be put onto a necklace as a pendant, or a bracelet as a charm, depending on what the wearer feels like.

Here they are, all wrapped up in their teal(ish) bags, ready to be given out!

We also have 3 guys in the choir, and they wanted some too, so I found some tiny safety pins in mum's sewing box, and wrapped the wire on the back around the pins so now they can be worn on the shirt or tie, or wherever!  I didn't get any photos of the back of them, but here they are attached to my dress, when I was taking them for a test run - or just playing around, either way!

BONUS PICTURE: my pendant on a silver chain - hopefully this will give a little idea of the scale :) (and my button that's coming undone, which I didn't realise until just now!)

PS: Sorry for having the pictures all in a row - I wanted to have them two to a row, but I can't make them sit next to each other!!  Any ideas for how to fix this?

Update on the What I Wore series

So, my first brilliant idea for the blog, documenting what I wear each day, has fallen through.  It's week 4 of my challenge, and I'm finding it really really hard to take photos of my outfits each day.  I find myself getting to 10pm, going to have a shower, and realising that I still haven't taken the daily photo and the lighting is going to be bad, and this week I just haven't been bothered.
Is this something that you enjoy seeing?  I'm tossing up whether I should suck it up, write off week 4, and just keep on going, or if I should just abandon it.
Of course, I'll still be trying to keep to my Made by Me Mondays, and all of the other goals, I just wouldn't be showing you everything every day.
Any input is very very welcome!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

What I Wore week 3

Away we go with week 3!
I have to admit, I had a slip-up this week - I didn't get a chance to take a photo of what I wore on Friday!  I was at work all day, home for about half an hour, then off to a choir concert, so I ended up wearing 3 different outfits.

For this Made by Me Monday, I wore my elephant dress - the first dress I made.  I'll be blogging about that dress properly when I can line up my sister to take photos for me.

Tuesday's dress has a really interesting lattice detail at the front, and a cutout at the back - here's a picture of the back.  These little details really make the dress something special, and I'd love to incorporate something like this into my own sewing.

On Wednesday, I had fun taking a swirly photo with my skirt - I love this skirt so much!  I bought it off Modcloth (it's called the "Let's Talk Lace" skirt, but it's no longer on the site so I can't attach a link), but it was lined in regular, slightly see-through cotton lining fabric.  This would be alright in a normal skirt, but when you have lace + see-through lining you end up with a very very unwearable skirt.  So I got some beige poplin from Spotlight and drafted a new lining, so now I can wear the skirt without being paranoid that everybody can see absolutely everything underneath.  My new lining is French seamed and falls about half an inch shorter than the original lining, so it adds some body to the skirt but isn't visible from the outside.

 (Action shots of spinning are very attractive - NOT!  But this is a small peek into how much fun I had wearing this skirt - love it!)

My physio gave me black strapping tape this time (instead of skin-coloured) for some reason, so I thought I'd show it off - because it's such a good look!  But seriously, this stuff is magical.  I was getting really bad headaches and neck cramps, but the physio released all the muscle spasms, gave me exercises, and taped my shoulders, and I haven't had any problems!

On Thursday, you may notice my necklace - I made a matching set of necklaces for the girls and pins for the guys in my choir, in choir colours.  I'll add some better pictures later on in the week, and a link to the tutorial I used to make these gorgeous little things.

It's starting to heat up a lot here in the North, so I'm loving my shorts and dresses - though I didn't realise that I wore quite so many skirts and dresses this week until I put together this photoset!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Sunshine, daisies, butter mellow Sorbetto top

A Sorbetto top made to match the lion printed pyjama pants that my sister made for me.
This pattern came together very quickly, and was a nice easy sew. The only change I made this time was to make it out of a double layer of fabric, so that I can wear it downstairs in the morning without a bra and not have to worry about it being see-through, haha! I also used flat-felled seams on the shoulder seams, and French seams on the sides, so there are no raw edges anywhere on the whole top!

Next time I will definitely make the armholes deeper – they’re just a little too tight, not enough to stop me from wearing this top, but will need fixing next time.

 Any of my readers who like Harry Potter will recognise my reference in the title - in the first book, Ron's brothers convince him that the spell "Sunshine, daisies, butter mellow, turn this stupid fat rat yellow" is a sure-fire way to make his pet rat more interesting.

This top makes me so happy, and I love all my little lions on my pants!  These are my new favourite summer PJs :)

(Apologies for the dodgy lighting - I couldn't decide if the pictures with flash or the ones without were better, so I put in some of both)

What I Wore week 2


You may have noticed that Thursday is missing - I was at work all day, so I was just wearing my work uniform - something I'm not really comfortable sharing with the whole of the internet!
This Monday I wore my self-made denim scallop skirt with little flowers and nautical buttons, Sunday was my Cat Empire shirt (best band in the whole world!!), and I just realised that I wore the same style of shirt on Monday and Tuesday!
Also, the Friday dress is going to be handed down/across to my sisters - nothing I could do would result in a good photo, so I just gave up and did a silly one!  It's just a little too short and a little too tight around the bodice, and it makes my arms look kind of funny.  It's a shame, because it really is a nice dress, but it just doesn't flatter me at all!

On Saturday the 19th, my choir did a performance at one of our local nursing homes, which was lovely.  It's great to get out and perform for people who actually love hearing the music, rather than just for the families of the performers who are there out of duty - not that I don't enjoy performing for families, it just makes a nice change!  Our choir's colours are black, teal, and white, so we got told to wear one of those colours (or a combination) on top and denim on the bottom - so this isn't what I normally wear for choir!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Fitting help...

Just wondering, is it too early to start exploiting the knowledge of asking for advice from my readers?  Even if it is, I'm going to do it anyway!

I've just made the first muslin/toile/practice/mockup/whatever you want to call it of my Dream Choir Dress.  I'm using the bodice of BurdaStyle pattern 02/2011 Dress with gathered rectangle skirt and cap sleeves, with a circle skirt and invisible zipper.  It's going to be black haven't quite decided what type of material  yet - any suggestions?  And I'm also wanting to make a teal petticoat (using this tutorial from Sugardale) and a matching teal belt using one of the belt kits from A Fashionable Stitch.  So many new techniques to try out!

So, specifications for the dress - it can't have too low a neckline or too short a skirt, so I can still wear it to performances at fancy places or more conservative places like nursing home concerts.  Also can't be too tight, as I have to (obviously) be able to take full, deep breaths while wearing the dress, and not too tight around the sleeves/armholes so I can still move my arms around.

Here's pictures of the first go - with the seams/darts on the outside, then with them on the inside.  I've turned the neck seam allowance down, but I haven't done it on the armholes.  Also, please excuse my belly poking out (the top of my shorts doesn't quite meet up with the bottom of the bodice, haha) and the strapping tape on my shoulders.

I'm reasonably happy with how it's fitting, but I'm not entirely sure if that's how it's supposed to fit!
My wishlist of alterations so far is:
  • Raise the front of the neckline about an inch
  • Move the inside edge of the shoulder seam inwards (or something) - it keeps slipping off my shoulders!  What's the best way to fix this problem?
  • Somehow make the bust darts less pointy-outy - they look quite weird!
  • Something to make the back less weird - no idea what!  It could just be the material or the way I'm standing though
I'm very open to suggestions on what else you think needs to be done - this is the first time I've tried to fit a pattern before, normally I just jump in and fix it afterwards!!  So any input would be welcome, and I'll try to incorporate these changes.  Also, if you'd like to see any more photos to help with a diagnosis, I'm more than happy to oblige.


Monday, 14 November 2011

Thank you Debi!

Exciting news has come my way - I've won my first ever giveaway!  (Yes, the firsts for everything will still be exciting for me, so please bear with me!)

Debi over at My Happy Sewing Place has announced that I have won this shirtwaist pattern in a giveaway:

This pattern is from Style Print, a British patternmaking company.  I'm looking forward to working with a vintage pattern from a company I've never heard of before - it'll be a real adventure!

I'm thinking I'll be making view A, probably with shorter sleeves - anything with long sleeves has a very short season up here in the north.  And I'm of the opinion that full skirts flatter my figure (very very small bust, disproportionately large hips/rear) more than straight skirts though, though any input into the matter would be appreciated - it may just be what I'm used to seeing myself in.  Anyway, that's a topic for another post.

Debi is also hosting an event called Sew Grateful, in which she encourages bloggers to use some special fabric or notions that was/were gifted to them, a pattern they've won in a giveaway, and so on, and then showcase their creation on their blog in the week of November 21st.  While we don't really celebrate Thanksgiving here in Australia, I'm all in favour of this idea!  Even if the pattern doesn't arrive in time (or if it does and I can't make the dress in time!) I will try to use this as my contribution to the Sew Grateful project. 

I encourage all of my readers to go and check out Debi's lovely blog, and consider participating in this special project.

Thanks again Debi, and I can't wait to get stuck into this pattern!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

What I Wore week 1

So, after having a small battle with Picnik, I present to you my first What I Wore post.  Even after only doing this for one week, it's made me think a lot more about what I've been wearing, and putting together different combinations of outfits.
Highlights of this week include my handmade skirt (first ever project!) on Monday, my dog wanting to help me take photos on Wednesday (he was very concerned as to why I was going backwards and forwards from my desk to the door), and my outfit for my clinical skills exam on Thursday!
Details of each outfit, if anybody is interested, are after the jump.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Welcome to the blog!

So, here we go with the first post on my brand new blog!  Hi, I'm Megan, I'm a 19 year old medical student from North Queensland, Australia, and I love to sew!  I made my first non-home-ec item of clothing just before Christmas of 2010, and I've slowly been making things throughout the semester at uni and in the uni holidays.  However, my thoughts and ideas have been stewing away for the last 13 weeks, and so I have a nice big queue of things that I really want to make.

This blog is probably going to be one where I have a glut of posts over the next 3 months or so while I'm on uni holidays, and then may be a bit sparse during the semester.

I don't really have many ideas for where I want this blog to go, but if anybody has any suggestions I'm more than happy to take them into account!  So far, I've decided that I'm going to do weekly 'what I wore' posts (mostly for my own benefit) with the details of the outfits tucked away underneath a Read More (if I can make Blogger do that! I know how much of a pain it is to scroll through endless outfit analysis if you don't really care) and as a personal challenge, I'm going to start doing Made Me Mondays - I will try to wear something that I have made myself every Monday (including clothing, jewellery and pyjamas).  This is my nod to the months like Made Me March and Self Sewn September, which I would love to participate in, but at this stage I don't have enough of a self-made wardrobe to do an entire month!  So I'm starting small for now, and I'd love to participate in one of the months in the future.

With my weekly 'what I wore' posts, I have a couple of goals in mind:
(1) Identify which items in my wardrobe I wear the most often, and find any gaps, and what I need more of - to help me with this, I'm considering doing a roundup of what got worn how many times at the end of the month.
(2) Find new combinations of the clothes that I already have - I tend to get stuck in a rut, always wearing the same combinations, and I'm kind of scared to mix it up too much!
(3) Become more confident in front of a camera, and develop my photography skills - I'm starting very small, with the self timer on my point-and-shoot camera in my bedroom, but I'm giong to see if my sister will teach me how to use her DSLR camera

Over the next few weeks, I have a number of new garments planned (at the start of my holidays!   Yay!), and I'll be posting the ones that I have already made once I can photograph them properly - because webcam photos are all very well for showing to get a general idea, but they're not particularly brilliant!

Anyway, I hope that any readers of my blog will enjoy seeing the things that I have made and reading my thoughts, and if you have any suggestions, comments, or constructive criticisms feel free to leave them in the comments or to email me at