Psst…there are gnomes in my Lady Grey…

I have never been unwell for so long that I couldn’t sew…To cut the long story short, my kids caught my cold/sore throat and passed them back to me! The good news is I am healed now and yes, I have finished my Lady Grey! I took these photos today and only after uploading them did I realise there wasn’t a clear photo of the peplum which I love. I will take some more shots and share next week. It wasn’t easy taking the shots, I was literally melting in the heat. It’s 30 degrees celsius today!

I love the color and am really pleased with it. I chose a gnome fabric by Michael Miller for the lining of this spring coat.

The side view and…
the back

The sleeves and shoulder pads definitely helped clear out wrinkles on the back 🙂 Besides the peplum, I also love the top-stitching details on the coat (yes, more photos of those too :)).  In the end, I didn’t do a bound button-hole. I did try it out on some additional fabric (my first and only try below) but didn’t have red organza so the white organza was peeping out at the sides. I will definitely try those buttonholes again in an appropriate future project.

Gotta go blow some candles off a birthday cake….have a great weekend! I will see you next week, share more photos/details on Lady Grey and tell you more about the next sewing theme.

 

UPDATE: New post with new photos of the Lady Grey here:)

Lady Grey in progress

Finally I got to start work on my Lady Grey. While I wasn’t able to follow the sewalong schedule, I have been following Gertie’s posts on Lady Grey closely. I am definitely going for the bound buttonhole after reading her tutorial on it. I’ve never attempted this before so I am pretty excited. Before I start on that, however, I wanted to ensure the fit was right or at least near it. So, after cutting out the shell pieces yesterday, I sewed the main pieces together this afternoon just to try out the fit. I didn’t have to make any alternations to my macaron dress which was also from Colette pattern so I was hopeful that the fit will be all right. I wasn’t disappointed as I liked what I saw at the end of the afternoon. Love how the front turned out. Please excuse my hand as I have not done the buttons 😛I think a well positioned button instead of my hand pressing down on the coat could remove some of the wrinkles below the lapel.

In particular, I loved the feminine peplum with its natural folds. These help a lot with proportions and definitely added points to how flattering a coat can be. It almost felt like I was wearing a mini dress!The side wasn’t too bad as well. The back had slightly more wrinkles but I thought I should sew on the sleeves tomorrow before deciding if I wanted to insert shoulder pads and make some adjustments to the back centre seam to see if I can get rid of those wrinkles at the waist. If you have any suggestion on how to improve how it looks, please let me know 🙂

I intended to make a light coat rather than one for winter cos’ obviously we have no winter here and a light coat will increase its chances of being worn during either a spring or autumn vacation. My husband and I agreed that we would not be bringing the kids on any winter vacation till they are slightly older and more resilient. The fabric is a home decor weight fabric from ikea which was on sale for US$3 per meter. Some of it went to the creation of my lil prince’s toy bag and I had about 3.5 meters left for this pattern. After laying the pattern tissues on the fabric, I was happy that it was indeed sufficient for the project! I am still toying with the idea of making my own fabric button for the coat and am happy to have found a really cute fabric for the lining which I will show you in later post. Let’s just say this is gonna be a fun Lady!

A frock, a romper & a giveaway!

This is the project I have been working on for a number of days last week and the reason behind my first muslin. Remember the gorgeous retro inspired dresses with full skirt by Louis Vuitton I blogged about earlier? Well, this is my take on it. In fact, corset tops and dresses by Dolce & Gabbana and Louis Vuitton are on almost every fashion magazine here and I have been drooling all over them.

It is no surprised that I want to create my own version. Meet my Time Travel Frock. So named as I could very well travel to the 1950s and back in it without feeling out of place just by adding on a pair of pretty gloves. For this dress I opted for a 50s inspired drop waist skirt instead of a waistband.

I used the US$2 Margarete top pattern from burdastyle and modified it to create this look. The result is quite different from the original as I have widened the shoulder straps, inserted boning and padding to the bust piece and added a skirt to create this dress. Instead of piping, I used silver ric rac at the top of the dress.

The cotton fabrics are all from ikea. The camel fabric for the top is lighter than the home decor leaves fabric I used for the skirt. I simply love using home decor fabric for long skirts. This is the second time I doing so. The first was for the 50s Inspired Sabrina dress. It’s magical how they sway!

The dress is featured as burdastyle’s Project of the Week and you can create it too by following my tutorial here.This is the first time I created such a lengthy tutorial and I hope you have no problem understanding it 🙂 If you have any queries, please feel free to leave a comment or email me. I’ll try my best to respond. It should be suitable for an intermediate sewing enthusiast. You will need a dose of patience because there is quite a bit of fitting involved but you will be rewarded with a flattering corset dress. I will also encourage creating a muslin like I did for the top because you might need to adjust the cup size for a better fit by adjusting the bottom seam allowance of pattern piece number 2.

My now wearable muslin has a new invisible zipper too and is also ready to face the world! It might be the perfect alternative for my friends living in warmer climate or in the Southern hemisphere! Its called the Summer Lovin’ Romper. It’s terribly cute 🙂

Other potential variations I imagined include the bodice combined with Kasia skirt in nautical print fabric or with the Sean skirt for something more flirty!

To motivate you. my sewing comrades to create the bodice with or without straps for yourselves and play around with the bottom variations, I am having a Margarete kit giveaway. To participate, leave me a comment and tell me where in the world you are from. There will be one winner chosen by the random number generator (random.org) but you will need to indicate which of the two fabrics below you prefer. The grey leaves fabric from ikea or the retro red polka dot fabric from Japan. The 1 yard of fabric will be mailed with sewable plastic boning and foam padding anywhere in the world, to the winner.

If you subscribe to my blog via wordpress, you are automatically given another chance in this giveaway. If you subscribe via other RSS services, please leave me a comment telling me for example that you have subscribe via blogger/google/bloglovin etc, so you get another chance. You can also get a third chance if you blog about any of the two outfits above. The giveaway will end Monday 27 September 2010. I hope you enjoy participating in this giveaway and happy sewing everyone!

Stash Busting!

I have a yellow sticky on my MacBook dashboard and it says “Stop unnecessary spending!”. I needed it to be there so that every time I felt the need for more fabric while browsing through etsy or other online fabric stores, it would hopefully play the part of a deterrent. It has been effective on a several occasions but one this month, which is pretty good for a person who finds beautiful fabric irresistible!   This morning I’ve committed myself to more restraint. I’m participating in The Train To Crazy’s The Great Destash Challenge!

There are three main things I have to do for this challenge:

1. Organize the stash. You’ll keep buying fabric if you don’t really know what you already have… how true!

2. Use only fabrics from your stash.

3. Decide the length of time or the amount of pile you’d like to reduce.

When I first started sewing, I bought many quilting cotton in one yard each as I was only making clothes for my prince and princess.

These are  stacked away in three small shelves, like the one above.  When my princess started school last month, I decided to stop buying fabric until these are used up. She wears a uniform now so it does not make sense to accumulate the stash.

Now, let’s move on to my stash. Off course, every one of the projects I sew contribute to stash busting but I think I have been accumulating stash a lot faster than I can sew. And, I am already sewing quite a lot. Anyhow, I spent my entire morning re-acquainting myself with them.

My knit/jersey (top) and pants fabric (below) stashes are looking very decent.

And so is my semi sheer fabric (chiffon, tana lawn, cotton voile) stash.

Now, comes the not so decent stashes of cotton or cotton blend. You are seeing 95% of all my cotton fabrics, these are two to three and a half yards each and pretty suitable for my made-me projects.

Japanese prints

Quilting cottons

More quilting cottons

Light weight ikea fabrics

Phew! So, after categorizing them, I took out my sewing patterns and started matching fabrics and patterns. These are what I ended up with.

One full box of dresses and half a box of tops and others to be made.

I also picked the fabrics I needed for the next theme I would be focusing on from mid August to mid September. I hope to start working on the boxes of projects after mid September. At the end of the morning, I still have a few unmatched fabrics and patterns but that’s all right. This stash busting exercised has already lined up many challenging (and I can’t wait to do)  projects. Till I finish each and everyone of them, I will not be buying any more fabric in Singapore or online.

Off course, having said that, I would like to put down a few exceptions to the rule. My fabric fast does not apply to:

1.  Fabric buying during my vacations overseas. The opportunity cost would be just too great!

2.  Lining fabrics as I do not keep any lining stash.

Oh Gosh! What a huge commitment I am making and I am actually happy with this plan. My Stash Busting Sewing Plan!

50s Inspired Sabrina Cape Dress Part 1

When I read this post by the Selfish Seamstress, I knew I wanted to make one of the 1950s outfits she posted. I love the idea that the cape is attached to the buttons on the dress like this one I found a day later on etsy.

I already have a vintage cape pattern, butterick B5032 pattern, so I didn’t want to purchase another one. Instead, I made the dress out of burdastyle’s Sabrina sewing pattern which I’ve always wanted to try but am arm shy. But with a cape, the outfit is ideal! I would never have thought of this outfit on my own so I am thankful to have seen these vintage patterns. They are my inspiration. I have just completed the dress portion so here it is. I hope you see some similarities 🙂

I used a medium weight ikea fabric in navy blue plaid for the dress, white fabric for what was called the ‘neckline’ on the sewing pattern and added some navy blue piping on top. I love the egg colored buttons which were attached to the front and back of the dress to hold the straps in place.

Expect lots of sewing for this dress. I have never used this much thread on a dress before LOL and I only realized it when I counted the number of used bobbins. There are princess seams running on the skirt on both front, back and pleat pieces in between. This is my first time sewing a box pleat skirt and I really enjoyed learning something new. I lengthen the skirt quite a bit as the original version was rather short.

Sad to say, the sewing instruction was a total letdown. It was overly brief and confusing for a dress that had quite a number of steps to complete.

If you bought this pattern, I hope you will find the steps I took below helpful. You can follow burdastyle’s instructions till the end of interfacing and then:

1) Sew the front neckline piece to the front yoke piece (this was not named on the pattern but you can identify it by the bust measurements printed on it), right side facing. Repeat the same for the other front neckline and yoke pieces. Please note that the bodice is very fitting so measure yourself before selecting the size.

2) Sew the back neckline piece to the back yoke piece, right side facing. Repeat the same for the other back neckline and yoke pieces.

3) Sew the front and back pieces together at the side seams for both sets.

4) Sew the two sets together by joining the two necklines, right side facing. You can insert piping here if you wish. Turn right side out, fold in one set of the neckline/yoke set and top stitch the neckline. Fit.

5) Sew the centre front piece and the pleat pieces together, right side facing, matching the numbers. Sew the pleat pieces to the side front pieces, right side facing, matching the numbers. Sew the top of the side front to the centre front, right side facing, matching the numbers until your waistline.

6) Sew the back front, pleat and side pieces in a similar fashion.

7) Sew the  side seams on the right. For the left side, sew until the zipper mark.

8 ) Baste top of skirt to one of the bottom seams of the front yoke, matching the side seams. Fit and stitch.

9) Fold in the seam allowance of the internal bodice and iron. Top stitch at the seam.

10) Fold the strap in half and stitch, right side facing, leaving a gap, trim allowance, turn inside out and top stitch. Repeat for the other strap. Pin on marked button spots and do a fitting.

11) Insert zipper and make button holes. Sew buttons.

12) Finish hems and we are done!

I have been procrastinating on the Sabrina for a long long time. There is another reason that gave me a push. The weather here has been anything but predictable recently. I have never witnessed this much rain in June and July! They were supposed to be the hottest months. Can you imagine,  these couple of months we actually had a number of flooding incidents! So, I thought this dress with cape would be sort of weather proof- warm or cool. Also, it is perfect for my Sundays. First watching my prince swim at the sunny pool, followed by church service in an incredibly cold auditorium.

One thing though, I find the dress a little bit difficult to remove due to the tight fit at the bust area. But, it’s only a small issue given how comfortable this is when worn! If you use knit, this issue can be easily resolved and you will not need a zipper.

Now, I just have to get the cape done!

Vintage 70s Jumpsuit

Here’s my version of the vintage jumpsuit from Simplicity  9677 made with ikea fabric. The pattern comes with doggy ear collar, puffy gathered sleeves and a zipper front. I love the idea of a zipper front. It is just so convenient and easy to put on.

As it turned out, I adored the collar. It didn’t come out as long as what was showed on the sewing pattern cover. I used interfacing for it despite using a medium weight cotton. Oh! I didn’t make it jet black as I kinda like the little off-white detail on the extreme left side. Other than that, the collar is completely black. Since, I do not wear skirts, I didn’t bother making the add-on. I have not gotten used to the puffy sleeves though as I think they are kinda over the top.

Did I adhere to the sewing pattern? For most parts I did. Nonetheless, I reduced the seam allowance for the shorts to 1cm instead of 1.5 so that it is more roomy.  I thought the back of the jumpsuit was a little too straight forward  so I did an oval-shaped cut out which I love. I also like the shaping created by all the darts at the back of the jumpsuit.

After making this jumpsuit I actually think knit fabric rather than woven ones would be more appropriate for this design. I also think the pattern can be pretty versatile. I might create a sleeveless or cap sleeve version in knit someday, perhaps with a hood instead of the collar.

In terms of sewing instructions, they were clear but I didn’t follow all the steps. I figured out I didn’t need the front and back facing for the jumpsuit if I folded in the seam twice behind the zipper and for the collar, I attached it the way I did a men’s shirt, by folding in its bottom.

Vintage Jumpsuit Work In Progress and Plans for July

I’ve finally started on the jumpsuit from this vintage Simplicity sewing pattern, Simplicity 9677 from 1971. It took me some time to settle on the fabric. I was deciding between polka dots or stripes, nautical or jet black. The fabric recommended by the pattern didn’t help either. Suggested fabrics include double-knit, denim, polyester knit, jersey, light weight wool, wool flannel, broadcloth, canvas, crepe and the list goes on and on as you can imagine…:P

I finally settled on a home decor fabric from ikea. Yes, ikea. I have never sewed garments using ikea fabric though I really love some of the prints. The only items I’ve made using their fabric are these cushion covers for my living room early this year.

There is an ikea 10 minutes drive from my place and I was there to purchase bookshelves for my son when some lovely fabrics called out to me. This was mid way through my week of sewing shorts so what was previously categorized as ‘non-garment’ fabric was now viewed from a fresh perspective. They could be great for shorts, pants and even jumpsuits! So, I ended up with these in my stash 🙂

Navy blue gingham fabric and navy blue leaves fabric

Red & Orange Tulip fabric and Black & White print fabric

The minute I saw it, I knew I would be using the Black & White Print fabric for the vintage jumpsuit pattern. I was not sure about making the collar according to the vintage pattern as it reminded me of cute doggy ears so I cut it according to specs with some extra fabric I had and pin it on.

They turned out to be rather charming I think so I should be sticking to the original design for the collar but I would be making it out of jet black fabric for more contrast.

I did a little review and realized my sewing productivity was pretty high for June. Let’s see, I have made 5 tops, 3 pairs of shorts and a jumpsuit. 9 items for myself in 4 weeks. That’s not too  bad and the tally excluded the two fathers’ day presents I sewed. I have never made that many things in one month! More importantly, I am pretty certain I will be wearing all these Made Me garments for Self-Stitched-September! I also realized through my Tara Experiment Week that I really didn’t like sewing under time pressure. At my own pace, sewing is fulfilling and energizing but the fun from creating three blouses that week was significantly reduced and I was truly exhausted at the end of the week. So, I am gonna stop giving myself such ridiculous timelines. However, I did enjoy having a specific theme every two weeks. What then should I create in July?   Once I have completed this vintage jumpsuit, it shall be two weeks of dresses!!!! Yay!!!! My current plan is to start on Colette Pattern’s macaron and I’ve narrowed the fabric selection to these two very different sets. I might just make two macaron dresses.

Floral & Dots set

Picnic Illusion set

I also intend to sew a knit dress out of this fabric.

That’s all for now folks but I’m certain I will be coming up with new project ideas if I happen to finish these 4 projects before the end of two weeks. I’ve gonna re-pace myself and enjoy the process more. Have a great week everyone!