For Summer

This embroidered print I bought a Selective Fine Fabrics in Brisbane recently is great using New Look 6000. OCD much (Lollipop and Blue poppies).

No sleeves this time so this dress works for Summer parties. I used the embroidered selvage for the hem.

The waist darts help me adjust this dress to fit as my waist changes. Underlining also made sewing in the invisible zipper easy work.

Originally I wanted to used FOE on the neckline and armholes but caved and used lining. The lining gave a better finish both on the inside and on the outside.

A few weekends ago I had a great day fabric shopping in Brisbane with Marjorie and Jenny visiting a couple of high end retailers. We spent ages looking at fabrics at Selective Fine Fabrics and this was one of the fabrics I decided to splurge on.

Why did I make this so quickly? I have a ladies lunch last Sunday hence a new dress! 

Then I decided to be brave and make View A using this John Lewis fabric I bought in the UK a few years ago. John Lewis doesn’t post fabric to Australia which I wasn’t aware of when we visited the UK 3 years ago.

Again I’ve fully lined this dress. I used View E front as the lining pattern. This made the front fit a lot easier to do.

One thing that makes this dress so easy to make and wear is using a 50cm to 55cm invisible zipper. I buy these zips from My Hung because they’re close by and affordable. My Hung have their zips hanging flat so I never have the iron out the kinks from packaged zips.

I think I’ve done this pattern to its limit for now. 

Well I thought I was until I decided to use an African wax print for a vintage-style version.

This is the dress I used for the square neckline tutorial.

Those butterflies are so lovely.

So I suppose I’ve finished working with NL 6000.

As this was an easy pattern to redo in a few different ways, I decided to enter these into PR’s One pattern many looks contest.

I certainly can’t say “I don’t have a thing to wear” in the lead up to Christmas this year.

Back to the sewing room.

Lollipop print

My new dress pattern ‘de jour’ is New Look 6000 using this lollipop tree print from Minerva Crafts UK. This style is a basic dress block with a few variations and it’s really easy to customise to your shape. 

Earlier this year I used this fabric for a retro blouse. Jo originally used this fabric for an a-line dress which looked fabric. She does influence my style choices.

Making this fabric dress-worthy
The pattern recommends a medium weight fabric and this fabric is light weight so it was a ‘no-brainer’ to fully line this dress to give it more body. 
Here are the prepped pieces.

I only lined the main dress and not the sleeves.

Interfacings and finishing touches
The sleeve cuff needed a very strong interfacing so that it looks sharp, so I used a paper type interfacing and these cuffs have really kept their shape. I normally used a softer interfacing but this paper style iron on interfacing worked was the perfect solution.

I used strips of interfacing to stabilise the neckline, the centre back seams and the centre back split.

My button stash came in handy on this occasion. I only had two of these buttons and they are a bit like the lollipop tree so that’s what I used.

My overlocker ‘spat the dummy’ and didn’t play nice so I used french seams on the sleeves. I haven’t finished the dress seams because the dress in lined and the fabric doesn’t unravel easily.

Because this is an all-over pattern I used a pale-coloured piping at the neckline.

Pattern adjustments:

I used the size 10 at the neckline; size 12 at the bust and used size 14 at the hips.
Then I shortened the bust dart by 2.5cm. 

I also shortened the sleeve length so it hit my arm at the right spot.

The dress length from the waist is 50cm and I shape the back hem so it doesn’t sit too high up and looks even from the side.

Here’s how the sway back adjustment turned out.

The v-neckline was easy to achieve by folding the pattern into a v-shape based on how low I wanted it to be. In this case it’s 10cm below the bodice neckline. 

These sleeves sewed in really easily.

I took a lot of care to mark the notches but I still double check as I sew.

There have been times when I sew the cuffs in the wrong way.

As you can see, the fit is great.

The shaping worked.

The other beauty of this fabric is you can’t see the creases so it will be brilliant as an office dress.

Thank you Minerva Crafts for this fabric.

Seeing (sewing) in the new year: lace

Green is my year-round favourite colour. When I saw a few green lace fabrics on Pitt Trading’s IG account, I was at the store asap because they have lots of end of designer rolls.

I welcomed in the New Year with this lace dress.

I find working with lace is like a 3-D jigsaw puzzle and I love jigsaw puzzles.

The lace:

This has a two-row repeat – large flowers and smaller flowers.
This lace is sofe and was lovely to sew with.

This lace has additional embroidery to the flowers so it was easy to know which was the right side. 
Here’s how I layed out the back skirt pieces with the pockets before cutting into the lace.

The lining:

I draped this lace over blue, grey, purple, skin-toned and white fabric. 

Blue lining was my favourite and lots of you  loved the blue lining too. The blue adds more depth to the green so blue fabric won. 

See what I mean about the blue fabric?

A fitted bodice was a must with an interesting neckline accentuate the lace so I chose Simplicity 1425 View C.

The neckline wasn’t a deep as I thought it worked.

The back is plain so it was easy to sew in an invisible zipper and line up the seams. The pattern is designed for buttons at the back and not zippers.

I chose to balance the lace on the back bodice instead of trying to match the lace at the zipper seam.

I ran out of time to add a sassy, pencil skirt so I added my basic A-line skirt with side seam pockets. 

I wore this dress to the NYE party we went to.

Without making a test dress (not like me) I sewed up this dress with the side seams sewn up last. This made it easy for me to size it down to fit me.

I made the 12 size based on the pattern information but realised I should have made the 8 with a 10 waist. 

I also had to shorten the front bodice pieces, which meant a bit of unpicking and resewing but I was on holidays so I had the time to do this.

I did a full bust adjustment on the bodice and it sits nicely on me.

Here’s my second try at making Simplicity 1425, using Pitt Trading fabric from the stash.

This pin-striped top above is my second attempt and tweaking the pattern. This also gave me a better idea about sizing. Did I mention I took out 10cm out of the side seams on the dress. 

Mr V took these photos way after midnight.

It’s all good! 
I’ll be using Simplicity 1425 again for a dress/top this Summer.

Pitt Trading has their Summer sale on and if you can’t get to the store, they have some of their fabrics listed on their website now. From the website sale fabrics, I bought spot dot and cascade.

All the best to everyon for 2016.

Creating a secure pocket

For Fehr Trade’s latest Surf to Summit top, I added a secure pocket. Here’s how I did it.

My RTW cycling jerseys have close fitting pockets so I adjusted the back pocket and drafted a pocket bag pattern piece.

The new cycling jersey uses left over Stormset print fabric from Funki Fabrics and an invisible zipper from my stash.

Checking for zipper length
Checking secure pocket so it fits my phone.

I checked the pattern to make sure it fit my phone and also checked the zipper length I need to get the phone into my pocket.

Next I had to figure out the steps to actually sew the pocket together.

Step 1: Sew the zipper to the outer pocket first (right side of the zipper). Use the invisible zipper foot. A 15cm invisible zipper will do.

Step 2: Sew the zipper (left side of the zipper) onto the zipper bag, leaving room for the seam allowance.

Here’s what it should look like.

Step 3: Sew the zipper seams closed at top and bottom. This will take some negotiating because the fabric stretches but the zipper doesn’t.

Step 4: If the zipper needs to be shortened, zigzag the zipper base and cut it to size.

Step 5: Pin the zipper bag to the main pocket piece, ready to sew it closed.

Below is how the back pocket fits on the jersey. I’ve used Fehr Trade’s Surf to Summit sewing instructions to sew the jersey.

I’ll show the finished cycling jersey next post.

Zipped up

While planning to make Vogue 8931 I wanted to include some pockets. This pattern has fake pockets or no pockets. I’ve added pockets in the front waist seam and I’ll show you how.

I used three sewing feet to achieve this pocket – an invisible foot, a zipper foot and a normal sewing foot.
With pins, I marked where the zipper would start and finish on both pieces. I made sure the zipper wouldn’t interfere with buttonholes, centre front lines or seam allowances. 
I pinned the zipper in place and made sure the zipper closed at the front, so you can see the zipper pull. The choice of how you want to open/close the zipper is yours.
Here’s where the invisible zipper foot helps sew the zipper on, stitching under the zipper coils.
Then it was time to match the other side of the zipper and darts.

Then I closed the top and bottom front pieces using a zipper foot. I sewed from the zipper to the edges to ensure the seam sewing matched – no puckers.

Here’s the pocket bag, sewn onto the zipper seam allowances and then the side seams are sewn closed. Again, my measurement of the pocket bag was just deep enough for a card and some money to buy coffee in the morning. It’s more aesthetic than functional.

And here’s how it looks on the front. Phew!
Don’t just look at what I’ve done, go to some real references.
Singer Tailoring – 1988,
Jackets for real people by Alto, Neall and Palmer – 2006,
New Simplicity Sewing Book – 1979

Peppy eyelet

I just couldn’t get on with my current projects until I gave this pattern another go. Peplums are everywhere and I have a summer holiday coming up in June so I made this top again in a white/purple eyelet from My Hung Fabrics to wear during the day with shorts or skinny jeans.

The adjustments this time were
– reduce the bust darts and centre back darts by 1.5cm
– add 1.5cm at centre seams on peplum, so the flounce is untounched
– drop the neckline and fix gaposis
– redraw the base of the cap sleeve.

And the neckline is now a v-neck.
Here’s the redrawn sleeve pattern. I took more off the sleeve length at the base on the sleeve, using a french curve. The peplum is still 2″ shorter than the pattern.

There’s a row of purple piping on the edge of the cap sleeve. The sleeves are lined. Bias binding is used to finish the neck edge, hem, zipper seams and sleeve edges. I’ll be wearing this as you would a basic white top.

I have visions of using this pattern for a casual jacket but for now, I have to get back to my planned project commitments in between cleaning the house. I know – both situations are sad:)

School teachers always tell you to sit up straight.


Enjoying a few rays before more cleaning.

PS: I’m ignoring the fact that ‘winter is coming‘. Can you tell I’ve been watching Game of Thrones recently? Love it.

The Great British Sewing Bee episode 4.
Congratulations to the finalists. You lucky sewers in the UK can put your hand up to be part of series 2.

T-shirt test

What’s there to test. It’s just a t-shirt right?

SAF-T POCKETS T-Shirt Trifecta #2014 offers 3 views, zipper pockets, sleeve options and you can mix the patterns up and tailor them to your needs or Mum’s need for pockets. That’s why I bought this pattern.

There’s always some aspect that independent pattern companies offer to set themselves apart from the big companies. That’s why I keep my eyes open for new patterns and new pattern ideas.

So my first test version below is very plain but I learnt how easy the instructions are to follow and they include methods of adding the front pocket with either an invisible zip or a normal zip.  That’s helpful! The pocket is there hiding along the piping I’ve added. The neckline has fold over elastic; I’ve shortened the sleeve; and fitted the centre back for a firm fit. These patterns use sewing 3/8″ seam and to me this is different but still very accurate. I can get used to 3/8″ seams.

I did ruin my first invisible zipper when I cut the zipper length, half sewed in the pocket bags and then checked to see if the zipper closed properly before finishing the pocket. Doh! Well that’s when the zipper pull came off in mid-air.

the hidden invisible zipper

I have lots of zippers from Zipperstop so I quickly relearned that I need to adjust the zipper length first with a bit of sewing before I cut it to size while working on the pocket. Notion stash to the rescue!

Showing the iron-on seam tape to reinforce the pocket bag.
The instructions suggest using a woven fabric for the pocket bag (again helpful) but I used iron-on seam tape to keep the zipper stitching straight and flat before sewing in the zipper so I could still use the same knit fabric for the pocket bag.
A closer view of the pipine and neckline finish

Thanks for commenting that some of you avoid pockets and detailing. I feel I need to make pockets of all varieties because Mum loves clothes with pockets so if I can make her some tops with pockets, then that makes her happy. Dad always loved safari jackets even after the 70s, because of the 4 pockets on the front bodice.