Monday, 31 January 2011

Measuring for the perfect fit

The Perfect Woman - in my opinion - is me! I'm very unique in shape, as I'm sure you are too, and so sewing for me and my size means adjusting the commercial patterns to get the perfect fit, for me. The Perfect Woman. The best thing though, is that if you took your measurements, and worked out how to change the commercial patterns as I have done this week, I betchya: YOU'RE the Perfect Woman too, cause the clothes YOU make will be the perfect fit.

As I'm now sewing a lot more regularly than last year, once a week for the Sew Weekly challenge, I'm feeling more calculated in how I approach a garment. I really wanna make it fit right, for me, so I went to an old sewing book (I take it out every now and again to read about darts, mostly!) that was recommended by Gertie, and mapped out my body shape and how to alter accordingly:

So I made little sketches here, so I can refer back. I have often said that I don't make a toile garment, or a practice garment when trying new patterns. I am stubborn, and hate wasting time, but when I make up a pattern, and it doesn't fit, I do get angry and then give it to a friend and feel grumpy that I didn't resize it to begin with. So I'm aiming this year to check the sizings of the pattern, and then alter it along the way.

For the Sew Weekly theme this week (Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery: choose something from the shops and then make up something similar) I've decided to measure all my bits and really shape the pattern to these measurements. Straight away, my Neck to Waist (you can see here it's 11 inches) is way shorter than the normal 15 or 16 that is usually in commercial pattern sizing (or my Vogue book says), so that's the first bit I need to alter.

It's strange, but I find it really comforting to work in inches.... but everything else in my Australian metric system is centimetres and such... never inches... so for patterns and sewing, it's just a thing I've fallen into and it's really easy to work with.

WEIRD. xoxo

*** Quick Edit: I've just spotted Tilly's post on the same subject, and she's really good with words and pictures, so if you're struggling with my explanation for the Perfect Woman (AKA how to fit the commercial patterns to you!) go and read her post asap!

Sunday, 30 January 2011


Husbie and I had our fourth wedding anniversary this week, and have created a bit of a mini festival (as we tend to draw out celebrations over a few weeks!) by going out to the movies on Thursday (True Grit - was very sad, but good), going out for tea on Friday (The European & Siglo) and riding our bikes all through Brunswick yesterday!

I've also been sewing and making things and forgetting to take photos (We rode our bikes to our friend's engagement drinks yesterday with handmade cushion covers in tow!) but I'll be able to show you some Sew Weekly updates soon!

Today, the festival of the wedding anniversary continues with a music festival, that we'll absolutely melt at. It's going to be 40 degrees Celsius (I just googled to see Fahrenheit for youse guys, it's 104 degrees) and dry and sticky. But the other great news this week, is that my brother & fiance are pregs, so we'll have our *first* next generation of my family this year! Their wedding is planned for May, so we'll go to Queensland to visit them, and THEN they're hoping to move to Melbourne by the end of the year. Loads of milestones and happy times.


Thursday, 27 January 2011

The odds and ends of Blue Floral

Happy Holiday yesterday for you fun Australians, and happy midweek to you other cool peeps!

My pattern for the Floral & Blue Dress this week is an old Simplicity Miss Petites pattern, and had one of those 'Bonus Charts' included. I've used this same one (probably a few years back when I first tried the pattern) before and did find the dress was more suited to my shape, so this time I read it again for a refresher.

It's good to make up clothes really quickly and give no thought to the fit, but if you're like me (and probably 99 % of you are) and are a unique shape (compared to the pattern!) then looking at a chart like this (or googling one similar) will help those 'unique' shapes be more suited when you make the garment up. It'll be different for all of us, but see those horizontal darts on that white dress? They were the ones I had to shave more off, but at the same time be careful I didn't shave off at the bust area just the waist area. It's tricky, and trying the garment on inside out (or on your dress form girl) helps you isolate those areas and you can pin them closer to you. LOLZ I'm trying to talk like a professional seamstress - 'isolate' LOLZIE!

All professional seamstresses have pincushions RIGHT!?

I've got a few funny 'ring pull' zippers, and thought I'd have to use them for a front jacket thing, but I thought 'fuck that' and have made a feature of the back zipper but sticking it there. I'm pretty sure these ones came from good old Marrickville (It's the major Salvos on Marrickville Road Sydney-siders, always heaps of zippers and threads there) and I cannot believe I can remember where I bought a zipper and not the freaking material!

Next post I'll show you how I lay out the pattern pieces to incorporate the right parts of the fabric patterns. I said 'incorporate' LOLZ AGAIN for trying professional talk!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Sew Weekly: Floral & Blue

Hey guys! My Sew Weekly Dress is up already! I forgot that I got it ready early this week, so planned on showing you the work in progress photos today, but instead I'll just go "VOILA":

The Theme is 'Something Floral, Something Blue' and this is a huge ISSUE with me because I don't like blue (you've heard this before, I know I'm a rerun of a dag) yet I seem to have huge stupid piles of blue floral fabric in my stash.

This blue floral stuff is a linen tablecloth, that I've probably had forever since can't remember buying it. I really like the flowers, as they kinda look handdrawn and wonky here and there. I'll tell you a little more in the coming days about the pattern I used.

Nevertheless, I've loved doing the theme this week with the Sew Weekly, cause as much as I THOUGHT I'd use this fabric, by having a challenge and a 'joining in' theme, I have actually USED the fabric. And maybe I don't look too bad in blue.

MAYBE it's my new colour? I have no idea what colour shoes it goes with though. That's why I had to choose my Melissa Troupes! HOW GOOD IS MY NEW HANDBAG TOO? It's a makeup case of some sort, and will probably only last a few wears, but it was $4 from one of the Sydney Road, Brunswick, op shops. I think it's Don Bosco (I always call it Donnie Brasco). They are still incredibly cheap for an inner city op shop. Go there now!

 So there's my Sew Weekly garment for another week! If you have a blue floral in your stash, make something this week and go to Mena's blog to find out how you can post your contribution, as there's a community page now! I'm just sussing that part out now, cause we all know I like online communities and social media!

I'll post a few WIP photos tomorrow, since I wanted to show you a few techniques I employed during the making of this dress. And I will even try to explain myself properly this time. Maybe not 100 per cent well, but I will try.

*** And don't forget darling! Tomorrow is Australia Day, which means it's triple j's Hottest 100 Countdown! It's my first day NOT working in a few years, so even though I worked really late tonight, I will have tomorrow off and listen to my friends on the radio instead! If you are so inclined, I might be looking at you Kat, you may be able to hear my 'LIVE across the country, triple j's Hottest 100' voice overs through the day.

If you're not Australian, triple j hosts the Hottest 100 countdown, the best songs of the year as voted by you, each Australia Day... and it's grown so much... internationally in some music circles, it's considered the most democratic music list in the world. I voted for Mark Ronson, The Drums, Yeasayer, Best Coast and a few others that I've forgotten now... hope they get in there! You can also stream it internationally, if you like music of course!!

Monday, 24 January 2011

Little Update

We have a fun week ahead because it's a public holiday on Wednesday for Australia! I say fun because it'll feel like two mini weeks in one, and I love when you feel all out of whacked for what day it is and how it's kinda a holiday feeling around the office.

At home, I'm feeling really happy as my sewing room is still really clean (Clean as you go! ie. drop things on the floor you don't need, pack away the stuff you do, then sweep later) and our house is so gorgeous in the summertime!

I also got another update at my favourite Hair Salon in Melbourne: Corrin's Hair Lounge! Corrin also gave me a 'set' with massive rollers and I sat under the hot thing for ages while the wind blew! Everything is going so lovely at the moment!

And this week's Sew Weekly theme is 'Something Floral, Something Blue' so you'll see my WIP on that one as well. I have SO much blue floral material in my stash, WHY!? (Sometimes I can't even believe I've turned into someone who HAS a stash. I HAVE a *sewing room* for fuck's sake! I'm so a professional these days! FYI when I started this blog, Husbie and I were in a 1 bedroom flat, and I only had 1 metre squared of carpeted floor space to layout and cut my patterns. I CUT ON CARPET! How I've grown!)


Sunday, 23 January 2011

Mini Break

Last weekend, Husbie and I went on a mini break down the coast, caught up with friends in different beachside abodes and it was almost like a proper long holiday, even though we were only away two nights.

It was a well worth it mini break, and 'cause our friends love dogs, Doggie Darling got to come too! We really mush remember to take time out every once and a while and get away from the city and our home sometimes. It's so fun to take our pup down the beach!

Especially to darling little towns in the country. These photos are from a very random model train exhibition (that all the Husbies were keen to visit!) that was held in Cowes, on Phillip Island. It was a total small town affair, and I just loved who all these creators spent all their spare time building these mini worlds!

Always the conversationalist, I talked to a man who had built his 5th model train world, and has heaps of spare rooms (and his shed) in his house devoted to the hobby. Hardcore!

I love all the little stories that you could create from these mini worlds! From the US of A, to the English countryside!

And to a perhaps sci fi world:

Totally hilarious!

Hope you're having a great weekend this weekend! I've been sewing heaps, so I'll have heaps to show you this week! I'm going crazy with 'fit' as well, making sure things fit me properly and measuring and remeasuring to make sure!

Talk soonxoxo

Friday, 21 January 2011

Sew Weekly: Unrequited Love

Hooray, I finished another dress for the Sew Weekly, and this week I'd given you a bit of a clue about the film I was chose, shot in 1999 but set in the 1970s, Khriste Be of Stitch It Up Stella got it right!

It's was the Virgin Suicides, a Sophia Coppolla film based on this book by Jeffrey Eugenides:

I just read his more recent book 'Middlesex' which was amazing. This cover of The Virgin Suicides also helped my styling (note my fave OK OK knee high socks!) but I mostly chose this film for the theme because it's such a great looking film and very mysterious. I love mystery: I wrote my thesis on David Lynch, the filmmaker, and it was ALL about mystery... what's NOT shown in the film is sometimes as great as the film itself. Anyways, my dress is very simple, but highly comfortable as our temperatures in Melbourne go up and down! Be warned, there are a lot of photographs today!

I give the garment a bit of an explanation on my Sew Weekly post , but it's a very quick and easy dress to make, and the material is op shopped and I've lost track when I got it. It is from the stash however, as I'm trying to use all second hand materials for the Sew Weekly (it'll be up to 50 dresses this year, and I don't have that kind of disposable income!).

It's a synthetic fabric, and we (thanks for your discussion too!) think it could be crape or crepe. I have no idea, and wish I could send you all a swab so you can feel it, as it's really soft! 

I wore it to work and didn't find it hot or itchy like some synthetics, so oh well! Now, for the photos: Husbie and I went to the local river with Doggie Darling, we often go for 'power walks' with her down there, but this time I dolled up and trotted down in my darling Melissa shoes at 7am instead of sneakers!

I'm still not super cool at having my photo taken like this and I move around a lot and feel a little awkward that I'm not really being natural. I think over the past year, I've become a little more confident but it's still kinda funny! The photos have come out looking really natural, so I'm really surprised!

Anyways, there's another theme for next week, and I'm determined to use Amanda's vintage patterns so I can finish up that challenge at the same time as the Sew Weekly challenge, so expect a little more vintage! FYI this is the McCalls pattern I used for this one:

It's a bit different maybe because of the light flowy fabric I used, but it was seriously a really quick dress to make, probably just under 2 hours to finish? So next week, I'll get out of the 1990s and find some nice 1960s or 1950s for you. This year, and hopefully through the Sew Weekly, I'll extend myself in the sewing room, and tackle some patterns I've put aside because they look too tricky.

Happy Friday to you! I better rush off cause this post is way too long now!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

An old fashioned outing!

My darling bestie got some birthday tickets and asked me to be her date, on the condition we dress up! It was to see the musical Mary Poppins!

Close up of my darling friend!

Now my close up! Oh it's my purple dress finally! I'll have to go find you the pattern, because it's from Amanda's Vintage Pattern stash, so this is another completed dress from her collection! It's taken me ages to be wearing it when I had my camera!

There's Amy, she's actually really tall, for some reason I've given her a different angle! Did I stand on tippy toes? I can't remember!

And here's my long shot! We are both wearing Amy's vintage hats and I've even got 'jewellery' (it's costume, and hella $2 shop type cheap) but how darling are my Melissa shoes? They seriously go with everything!

Here's the pattern from Amanda's Stash:

I really like it, but I'd like to make it again, doing the facing proper, cause I tried bias binding and because of the scoopy gathered/pleated neckline, it just didn't sit flat for ages. I had to iron and then use fusible interfacing, you know that double sided sticky cobweb stuff? You have to iron it in.

At least the dress turned out lovely for the theatre! How posh!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Sew Weekly Theme: Unrequited Love WIP

So it's another WIP moment at my house, with Theme #2 of The Sew Weekly challenge, where I'm making alongside four other darling peeps a garment a week and if you have a look at Mena's website you'll find that you can too!

This week's theme is Unrequited Love in Films, and since I'm not a huge lovey dovey fan, but I love films, I looked quickly through some films that have that as a theme and simply chose one based on the look and style of the film. It's set in the 1970s, but was released in 1999...

Any ideas? It's kinda obscure, so I may have to reveal tomorrow! Here's my 'drawings' and I'm undecided how I'll use the pattern pieces. I want to try the more modern McCalls, because I've made the other one a few times now, and it's kinda annoying to do all those pleatings. I do want to have puffy or half cap sleeves to give it a 1970s flouncey look... but I don't know.

The fabric is thrifted, has a synthetic feel that's almost but not quite flannel... it's really soft, but the right side is slightly bubbled... Again, apols about my explanation, I'm not so good with terminology and I certainly don't know my fabric. It's not cotton, that's for sure. It's an op shop purchase, I think it's quite cheap and here's a rather expensive zipper from the op shop too! I love old zippers still in the packaging (I also save it for something 'useful' later on, but still don't know what!) but longer ones often pop out with hard to iron out creases from being wrapped up for 40 years!

What's happening with your week? I keep feeling it's Thursday because I've got a lot of planning ahead at work, and it's making me mixed up! At this stage it's our biggest and funnest work day of the year on Wednesday, so we're all thinking about that!


Monday, 17 January 2011

Back from the country!

Thank you so much for your lovely comments about my first dress for the Sew Weekly challenge! I was so excited to read through them all, and I felt very spesh indeed! And thank you for putting up with my spelling mistakes courtesy of my 'smart phone', as I had to load the photos quickly on Friday morning, and then write about them in the car down to the country.

I can't remember if I posted this baby blanket, but it's one I finished before Christmas, while watching The Sopranos. It's made up entirely of scraps from my wool basket/suitcase!

I also thought (for you non-crochetters) this really shows you how the granny square is done, when it's multicoloured like this... So pick that yellow fat yarn/wool there, it's more of a square than a triangle, cause it's such fat wool. But see the purple and green straight after it, and how they sit like a triangle? That's made up of three little stitches, and I call them half double stitch... or maybe I can them treble stitch. I can't remember, cause it's different in different countries. I'm really bad at explaining things... I'll have to work on this sometime this year!

But I guess what I'm pointing out is that you keep one colour, and go all the way around the edge of the square... you do three little stitches together, then you do one single stitch, etc until you reach the corner then you do three little babes together in the corner, do two single stitches, then another 3 little babes in the same corner stitch. All the way around. Yep. Bad at explaining.

This is another blanket for the gift box, and we're hoping to see all these new baby friends soon, so we can give these presents away!

Also: The Sew Weekly challenge this week, is a film theme: Unrequited Love... I'm going to choose a film made in the late 1990s, but set in the 1970s! I'll blog my progress again this week when I can... is that ok? I'm adoring sewing a theme each week, with the darling Sew Weekly community! Whilst we (Debi, Sarah & Adey, and Mena of course) are the contributors, you are also invited to sew along when you have the time! I saw some darling Chanel photos on Mena's blog, as part of the flickr group... so if you have time to look at a 'Unrequited Love' movie this week, sew away with us!

Friday, 14 January 2011

Sew Weekly: Coco Chanel

Yay Hooray! My first week doing The Sew Weekly challenge, and my completed garment in on Mena's blog and here are some photos for you! I chose this Style Pattern, from 1991, but I wanted to make it a gorgeous LBD with a twist! What do you think?

Look how cute Doggie Darling is! I made it from this pattern:

I'm typing from my iPhone today, as we're heading down to the countryside and MAYBE going swimming! It's the craziest weather here in Melbs so not really sure what'll be on the cards for us!

It wasn't a tricky pattern to sew up, just lots of handstitching and ironing. I was slightly stressed because I had to cut it quite short to fit the fabric remnant, so lucky the hemline isn't too shocking!

Dongmen Lu Fabric Market

Happy Wednesday! Time to get some fabric inspiration from the Dongmen Lu Fabric Market here in Shanghai! Can't believe how quickly 201...