Monday, 23 February 2015

Not the best alteration (but it's finished!)

It's not the best hack every - it's a little more snug than i'd like but i couldn't shorten it any more - as the back isn't shaped!

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Progress on a couple more UFO garments

Despite not feeling too well today (auto-immune so not contagious) I went to my sewing guild meeting and managed to be productive.

First up I bitched & moaned getting the group's overlocker re-threaded. The lower looper thread kept snapping, so in the end another less cranky person sorted it out for me.  I'd even rethreaded it from scratch and the !^$&* snapped. Too early for medicinal alcohol - overlockers (aka sergers) are the only thing I relax my zero alcohol & sewing policy for.

First thing under the needles was a UFO skirt. I first finished it at the end of last winter, but had to shorten it dramatically from the waist to make it fit my now tubby-guts.  Since my gallbladder surgery I can't tolerate firm waistbands any more. The pressure on the right hand side starts tipping from uncomfortable to painful, so for the first time in my life I now prefer elastic waistbands.  And I genuinely mean a waistband from lingerie elastic.  I even use a replacement bra back in lieu of a button, being very careful to hand turn near the hooks & eyes so that I don't break a needle or throw the timing.  Seeing as I'm too short waisted + overweight + boobular to wear a top tucked in, nobody is going to see it in public.

Back on topic, I've had this waiting for me to finish since spring, but I've finally got it done, a week from the first day of autumn.  I'll get a pic of me in the skirt during the week.

Next up I started working on my 5 month acknowledged UFO floral dress.  Today for the dress I achieved:
- overlocking shoulder seams
- drafting pattern pieces for neck facing
- cutting waistband pieces and neck facings
- sewing and applying the external neck facing to bodice
- seaming waistband
- stitching to bodice
- pinning to previously completed skirt section


So, I'd added a smidge to the front bodice width and to the waistband front (6mm or 1/4 inch), but wasn't sure if I'd done the same to the skirt back in September. Of course I hadn't, so I will let the panel seams out 3mm each and it should be close to fitting. The back is fine, as I didn't change that as it was cut out back in September, the bodice front is what caused the procrastination. Took months to actually cut the bodice front pattern in full out of interfacing, so that I could ensure no targets dead on bust points.

Tomorrow/during this week I'll:
- let out the skirt front panel seams
- stitch the waistband to skirt
- left side seam including zipper
- hem skirt
- cut out sleeves /stitch/insert.

I also plan to make a plain black skirt (need a new one for dressing up as Edna Mode to go & see The Incredibles on next Sunday). After I check my black shirt still fits - I don't have time to make both.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

The 2015 vintage sewing pattern pledge

I have to confess to complete failure with my 2014 challenge. I pledged 4 and made a big fat zero.

Despite that, I've joined up again but not being quite so optimistic. The 2015 Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge has a slightly different take to the pledge this year, encouraging those for whom a numerical target isn't the best approach. Following on from that:

I pledge to use one 1930s pattern and one 1950s pattern this year.


Finished: a utilitarian nightie

Yesterday I finished a utilitarian nightie that I started about 5-6 months ago, thought I'd mentioned it before but can't find a post.  Anyhoo, its finished and from the Past Patterns late 18thC chemise pattern I've used umpty squillion times before.

As I was pinning the sleeves into the side seams I discovered that at some point (possibly when I started sewing it) that I'd stained the front with something (possibly black tea).  Not large but there to be seen (not in the pic).

It's soaking right now and I'm not sure it'll come out, but it's utilitarian & done. Lets be honest I'd have spilled coffee on it sooner or later anyway. At least it's not work clothing ruined before it's worn

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

inspired by the 1920s and tea-rose coutil

I didn't anticipate needing one myself, but the The Roaring 20s is close - every February in the Blue Mountains.  I'm hoping to go to a daytime event, and before I can make the dress, need an appropriate brassiere for my substantial acreage.  I'm hoping to use the pattern in Jill Salen's Vintage Lingerie.

Other than if it will be effective, I'm concerned to know how I'll be able to fasten it. It was designed to fasten by hook & eye at the side seam.

Except due to my height (thus short arms), and stout self I'm physically unable to do that.  Could I lace it closed under the CF and then hook & it down the bust seam - like the tudor gown Hunnisett has where the stomacher pins over the front lacing gown.

Does that make sense??

I've also become obsessed with making it in a tea-rose broche coutil, although I don't have any. So I'm going to visit Metro Fabrics on Saturday and hope they still have a floral broche in a sort of pink. Even just broche, and I'll dye it!

Obsession can be both good & bad. If it motivates me to start sewing, then I'm likely to get the happy-sewing-juju back.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Figured out why I'm demotivated

It's not a problem you'd think I'd have, living here in Australia. It's summer and I have the winter glums aka SAD. (

It's been another ridiculously grey summer with some weeks being 6 days grey sky (with or without rain) and 1 day sunshine, and this is yet another one. We had 10 grey days in a row in December. So very wrong in our SUMMER!!! I've been so demotivated and unproductive cos I'm not feeling it. A few days sunshine and I perk up and then we get hit with another seven days of solid cloud cover.

So, I'm going to look into getting a lightbox, or full spectrum lightbulb to put on my desk at work. I'm hoping it helps to perk me up again.

And please, no comments about dams and gardens and farmers needing rain. I've past that point of them being any form of consolation. It worked in December, not so much January. Also grey overcast days with no rain isn't filling dams and gardens. When it comes time to harvest, farmers need no rain.

One reason I stayed in Sydney was the amount of sunshine hours, but this and the previous 2 summers have been severely lacking in sunshine hours.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Tonight's pesky chore: grading the VPLL pattern

I really want to make the dresses while it's still summer, so today's sewing chore is to grade up this pattern to my size. Then I can do the alterations like FBA and shortening (including high hip) and see if I need to my traditional narrow shoulder alteration. Though if I play my cards right I can do the shortening incl high hip at the same time as I trace it off & grade.

I'm only going to trace the pattern pieces because I need to grade them, and I can do that as I trace rather than slashing & spreading and sticky taping it, and then doing the other alterations until it's a sticky taped hideous mess. Because I'm short, I'm only going to grade extra width and I realise that this technically no longer makes it grading.

So at long last I'll open & start to use my 49metre roll of 60cm (24") wide architects tracing paper.

EDITED TO ADD: Done, taking 45 minutes

Monday, 5 January 2015

Another fabric for a vintage summer dress

OK, not the only thing.  At the end of December I bought this piece of brown cotton satin with a duckegg & cream print.  I needed to get fabric for the collar cos I realised it's perfect for the wrap 1930s New York dress pattern.  The olive foliate print I had been planning to use was impossible to find a matching plain, except in white. I looked for a few years and not only does white not suit me, I figured it shows marks to easily for someone as clumsy as myself. 

The choices of plain duck-egg or mint were un-inspiring. They looked flat and dull, and not right for this lightweight fluid cotton satin, and then one of the shop assistants suggested the quilting micro dot fabric. It works really well and is a lovely soft and spendy cotton.  This metre of fabric cost 75% what my 4 metres of brown print cost - ok that was ridiculously cheap for Australia, but still. meeep

I also got some black for contrast collar on my red/black print cotton. Red was meh, white a no-go-zone.