Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Cashless Christmas

T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house
Not a creature was sewing, not even a mouse
With crafting completed and wrapping all done
I didn’t know that making presents would be so much fun
Previous years I’ve done Christmas with panic and stress
This year the challenge was Christmas for less!
I may be constrained by a shortage of cash,
But I have time on my hands and a huge fabric stash!
Thinking of loved ones and what I can sew
Like perfecting a shirt for the men that I know

Gifts for the kitchen? Protection from heat.

Presents for girls who like to look cute and sweet.

Casual wear for the buddy, who hates getting a chill,

Making that present is more of a thrill
Than flashing the wallet at anything that’ll do
I’ve spent time designing a gift just for you.

So with arms full of gifts made with love and with care,
House all cleaned and a home cooked lunch to prepare
Good friends and good food are the order today
Without the worry of bills I can’t afford to pay.
Merry Christmas everyone 
(With appologies to the unknown author of "The night before Christmas")

Sunday, 22 December 2013

My 50th party dress

I made my daughter a version of the couture dress (Vogue 8648) a couple of months ago, and then made myself a straight skirted version for the Christmas season.  I was soooo delighted with this dress, and the version that I made as my annual Christmas dress that I made myself another party dress from the same pattern, this time dedicated to 50th birthday parties.   

I seem to have a spat of these over the next few months (with mine in there somewhere too) so I figured that I could justify yet another new dress dedicated to this particular round of parties.   

This time I did use most of the couture techniques that Susan Khalje recommends, and even remembered to put bra retainers in this one.  I did the circle skirted version and used the stiff hemming tape, which took ages (five metres of hemming).  

Other than that the time consuming methods weren't to laborious, mainly because it is the third time sewing this pattern, and the second time for me.  There were no fitting adjustments required at all.

The fabric is a heavy weight cotton, almost denim weight and it has took to the hemming tape really well, giving it quite a bit of swing.

Overall I’m delighted with the dress.  I wore it to a double celebration last night – a friend’s 50th, and for me yesterday marked exactly one year smoke free!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Really Christmas Sewing!

Ok this was one of my more bizarre sewing ideas.  

I’m doing Christmas Lunch this year, but I REALLY don’t want to get a Christmas tree.  Apart from the cost,

… they shed needles,

…I have nowhere to dump it in January so I’ll have to pay to have it taken away,

…but I hate plastic ones

…I don’t have a huge living area so it’d be a struggle to fit one in the living room and not have it get in the way.

After some deliberation I came up with a solution that 

...won’t shed needles,

…will be easy to store after Christmas

…will take up very little room in the living room

...definitely says “Me” in a way that no pine tree (real or fake) ever could.

I sewed myself a Christmas tree!

The fabric was from my $1 stash and apart from being rather loud for my wardrobe it is really itchy, so I don’t see a place for it as a garment.  There was only a scant metre of it anyway so I was probably going to end up throwing it away eventually, so I class it as zero cost.

I cut the fabric into three rectangles that were twice as long as they were wide other and two rectangles for the trunk and bucket.

I folded the three rectangles into a square and stitched down one side…

...pressed the seam to the centre of the back, forming a triangle,

…inserted some cardboard to hold the triangle firmly

... before sewing each triangle closed and stitching them on top of each other…

…added a trunk and bucket and voila!

A Christmas tree!

I’ve hung it on a light, so there is space at the base to place presents, and will be decorating it shortly.  The rather loud green and silver print means that I won’t bother with tinsel, just lights and few baubles.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Project 38 and the start of the party season!

This fabric has been in my stash for about three years.   

It wasn’t that she didn’t speak to me – because she was always intended to be a dress and we both agreed on this from the start.  I was a little unclear about the exact dress pattern, but she was always going to be a Christmas dress, so every year, when I failed to sew her up for Christmas, she returned to the stash for the following year.  Unlike a lot of the fabric in my stash, she wasn’t cheap and I was determined to make her into something special.  

My original idea for her was a bustier dress, and under that guise she was project 38 of my 52 projects.  Despite several muslins I am still not happy with the fit of the bustier dress top and when I gimped her she looked great as Vogue 8648.

I bought this pattern as part of the craftsy couture dress course and had been through the muslin process for myself and my daughter, (with the daughter’s help).  I had to abandon the couture methods for my daughter’s dress when the deadline was brought forward six weeks, and I was delighted with the result.  I was determined to make 2013 the Christmas that I finally got this dress from the stash into the wardrobe.  I laid her out on the spare room floor, and pinned her pattern pieces to her, 

...and then procrastinated for a week.  The fact that I had invested more money in her than most of my fabrics made me hesitant to actually cut into her.  

When I gave into a cheap fabric that wanted to be jeans I left her on the floor and worked round her while I was cutting out jeans.  If I put her away I’m sure she’d have ended up deferred to 2014 Christmas! 

As soon as I finished the jeans I was determined to actually sew her up.  Having started using the couture methods it initially seemed a shame to abandon them, but I really couldn’t face interlining this dress.  She’s a medium weight cotton with just a hint of Lycra and we are experiencing a particularly warm spring at the moment, so I wanted to keep her as light as possible.  I have a wool mix in mind for a winter version of this dress, so I’ll use interlining on that one.  I did go with the hand-picked zip, and put the (cotton) lining in by hand, but I used the overlocker to finish the edges as she’ll by machine washed.

I am pleased with the result.

I didn’t get around to putting Susan Khalje’s bra retainers in, but I should have.  I’ll retro fit them before her next wearing.

I was a little concerned that she looked a little too innocent, so I added a flash of black lace in the back slit in an attempt to sort of vroom her up a bit.
Susan Khalje lifted the back of the dress up, and when I make a work appropriate dress, and/or a sleeved version I will do the same as this dress is inclined to slip off the shoulders.

Despite not using the full couture methods on this dress, I learnt heaps on this course and will have used most of the techniques already, just not all on a single garment.  

As my first dress for the Christmas season I wore it last night to a cabaret and dinner with friends.  We saw “In Flagrante” at the Galatos Ballroom in Auckland.  It was only on for one night, so there’s no point in recommending it, but it was hysterical and if I ever see any more shows by this group I’ll definitely be keen to see them again.