Tuesday, 29 October 2013

um... another Frocktober

This dress was scheduled for completion for the first week in December, until Thursday, when my little princess advised me of a slight scheduling adjustment.  Instead of the first weekend in December, could she possibly wear it this weekend?

Being an absolute sucker, I dropped everything else and got stuck in. 

I had planned to do this dress for her following Susan Khalje's Craftsy course.  I had already been through the muslin stage and fitted it on her, but had got no further, since she hadn’t chosen a fabric. 

Having a well-fitting muslin meant that when she arrived on Friday for the final fitting and length consultation, I had made pretty good progress, and we managed to get it finished in time for her to go out for the evening.  

Obviously there was no way I was going to be able to use the couture methods with this time frame, so I reverted to the pattern instructions.  The only concession to couture was inserting the zip by hand.  I didn’t want to use an invisible zip as she wanted the bodice very snug.  It would be a shame to have the zip go early in the evening and spoil the effect of what is a stunning dress.

I had also intended to use the hemming tape that Susan K suggested, but I couldn’t find any.  I tried four different shops and only one of them even knew what I was talking about.
I will continue to search and as a temporary measure I used iron on hemming tape!  I know, it seems like cheating, but it did give the hem a little extra body that really worked for this dress.   

As soon as I can find the real stuff the dress will be recalled for improvement!

Instead of ordinary lining, I used  cotton poplin, as she will be wearing this dress in warm weather, and I can’t imagine ordinary lining being at all comfortable.  I also only lined the bodice section.

I’m actually very pleased with the result, and so was my "little princess".  The dress looks stunning despite the last minute scheduling adjustment.  I even managed to get back to the jumpsuit that I planned to wear on Saturday evening ( I realise that this is a strange concept to anyone under 20, but I did actually have plans of my own for the weekend other than sewing for my off-spring).

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Sewing for "Kids"

I got a call this afternoon as I was leaving the gym:

“Mum, you know that dress you were going to make me for the first weekend in December?”

“Yes, the Vogue one? Have you found some fabric?”

“Would it make big difference if I wanted to wear it over labour weekend?”

If you’re in New Zealand you probably thinking exactly the same as I was – labour weekend; as in the day after tomorrow?  Since I thought I had another five weeks for this dress this “deadline adjustment” did throw up some scheduling challenges.  (That she refers to a “Project Runway” moment, without the trip to Mood)

It got me thinking about sewing for kids.  I know a number of bloggers have recently entered the world of motherhood and have sewn and knitted some cute outfits, which they will place on their cute child when the time is right.  Sewing for young children can be fun, ‘cos you can pretty much make what you like and they will wear what they are told.

A few years ago a bought a border print of tigers.  I had no real excuse, unless I was pre-menstrual at the time, I can’t recall.  Once I got it home I realised the error of my ways (I mean, come on, I’m pushing fifty, pictures of animals on my clothes should be in my past).  The fabric lay unloved in my stash for at least four years, silent next to much more grown up fabrics that conjure up images of sophisticated outfits.

Last week a close friend came round with his granddaughter (11) and she rummaged fascinated in my studio, had a play with the embroidery machine and dropped hint after hint about making her a dress, until she finally gave up and asked.  She wasn’t fussy about what she wanted, so when they left I listened carefully to my fabric stash in search of something that would suit an eleven year old girl.   

This poor fabric had obviously been waiting for an opportunity like this for years, and wasn’t going to let this one pass by.  It shouted out gleefully, “Me, me, me”

Without further ado a simple dress was whipped up for the charming granddaughter.

I guess this counts as another Frocktober dress.

I’m sure that those of you with sons are sitting back and smiling, after all, you child is hardly likely to do that.  Don’t be so smug.  Flashback to a text exchange with my son two years ago.

“Mum.  I’ve just got home with a pair of jeans that need taking up urgently.  Where are you?”

“On a live-aboard boat in the Marlborough Sounds”

“When will you be home?  I really want to wear them tonight”

(The Marlborough Sounds are a four hour boat trip and a ten to twelve hour drive from Auckland)

Even the boys do it.

Back to the immediate “scheduling adjustment”,   I could have just laughed, and if you don’t have kids I’m sure you’re thinking that’s just what you’d do.  Instead I did a mad dash round a few fabric shops with the camera, rushed home and Gimped the best three fabrics and emailed them to offending daughter:

Yes, I’m going to drop my third Frocktober dress, get the fabric she has chosen (the third picture) in the morning and make a start.  She is available for fitting for an hour tomorrow evening and wants to wear the dress on Saturday.

…and I’m going to do it.  See the word SUCKER stamped across my forehead? 

Does anyone else get roped into these daft projects?

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Frocktober again

I know, I’ve already done Frocktober, but I love dresses, and there are soooo many on my sewing list that I couldn’t just do one.

This is a Burda dress, and I regard as a sort of wearable muslin.  I used one of the vintage cottons that I was given.  

As a wearable muslin there are problems.  The neckline gapes rather and I wasn’t sure whether it was the cut, or the fact that I didn’t interface the neck edge and it’s on the bias so stretched.  

I sort of fudged the neck by adding ties that pull the V neck into a sort of sweet-heart neck line and hug it closer to my chest.  

After wearing it I also decided that I needed to top stitch the whole area in place too.

I thought of it as a bit of a boring sort of fabric, but now I’ve made it up it has a sort of English-afternoon-tea-and-croquet sort of vibe about it.  That’s the way it makes me feel anyway.

Monday, 14 October 2013


I’ve been planning this dress for ages. Although it’s not one of my 52 projects, the fabric came from my $1 stash and I bought the pattern (Vogue 1353) because the fabric toldme too!  

It was one of the first projects that I managed to visualise using Gimp (thanks curious kiwi) and seeing it on screen reminded me how much I wanted that dress.

The Monthly Stitch challenge for October is dresses, which seemed like a brilliant excuse to tackle this dress.
I’ve read several reviews of this pattern and several sewers found the bodice rather short.  Since a short bodice is something I frequently suffer from I tissue fitted the bodice pieces and confirmed that it was very short on me.  I added 8 cm to all the bodice pieces.  

I always knew I was border line as far as the quantity of fabric was concerned, but I can usually squeeze patterns in a little.  Unfortunately by the time I had added 8cm to the bodice I was never going to get the skirt in the fabric I had.  I elected to make up the bodice and draft an A-line skirt from my skirt block instead of the vogue one.
Overall I’m pleased with the dress.  

I still love the print.  It’s a lightweight fabric, rather than the stiffer fabric that is recommended for the pattern.  I suspect that the folds in the neckline are softer than intended. 

Tuesday, 8 October 2013


I didn't mean to do it.  In fact, I didn’t really do anything at all.  It just sort of happened.

I do have a stated intention of reducing my fabric stash, but it just keeps getting bigger!  I don’t know how it happens.

I will confess that I bought some woven wool off Trade Me, but it was cold, I figured I needed warm stuff, and it was worked out at less than a dollar a metre. 

I know I bought the $1 stash, but that was only $1 so I couldn’t really turn it down, and $1 doesn’t even really count, does it?

This latest lot didn’t even cost!  A friend has an elderly mother who’s health is failing.  She used to sew, but hasn’t done so for years.  She was having a sort out (apparently to save her kids from having to do it later) and came across a box of fabrics and un-finished projects.  I’ve met her several times and she asked her son to pass it on to me!  Well I had to take it really.

As well as fabric she’d almost finish this dress…

…and a few plain fabrics that don’t photograph very well,

but I’ll have fun with them all