Hot spots

I made this cute blouse using a Pitt Trading remnant. I’ll use this pattern for some silk fabrics sitting in my stash.

The long story:
It’s no secret that I love remnants and the challenge they bring.
It’s also no secret that Pitt Trading has lots of remnants from local designers throughout the year and my stash has a few of their remnants waiting to jump into my sewing queue.
Enter Winter and Vogue 8906. When I first started sewing tops for work, the easiest thing to whip up is a knit top that is cosy for Winter. They become wardrobe staples as they’re quick to make and need minimal fit.

While knit tops are fast to make, I wear them like crazy and these tops constantly need replacing.

This year I’ve been working with silk fabrics and I’m becoming more confident with silks. I adore how silks feel in any weather. They’re also easy fabrics to manipulate.

Silks also come in lots of styles but they come in an array of gorgeous colours that suit me. I recently bought some yummy silks fromSelective Fine Fabrics in Brisbane that I desperately want to use.
Vogue 8906 seems like a great pattern for blouse-weight silks. Drapey fabrics work best for this blouse. I read a few reviews and I realised it would be very sensible to test out View A in a remnant.


This ‘white on blue’ spotty poly remnant looked me square in the eye and said, ‘Go on. Make my day.’ So I did.

I cut out the 12 and did a forward shoulder adjustment but I kept the top length as is. Packed up the pieces and moved on to other projects.
Two months down the track I made time to sew this blouse up. The seam allowances and hems are overlocked and there’s no pattern matching.

The pattern neckline too high for me so I recut the neckline down by 3cm and it just sits nicely without it choking me. That’s what a test version is for – tweaking the pattern before you work on the ‘good’ fabric.

Now I can confidently use this adjusted pattern again.
But my mind has now wandered to thinking how this top would look as a dress.
Stay tuned for an update on how the dress version turns out. 

Simply couture

Do you ever wonder…can I really make this on my own? After attending such an intensive workshop, I wondered if I could still use my new couture skills without Susan Khalje’s being there. This month’s Minerva Crafts project has shown me that I can.

When I initially ordered this lovely guipure lace, I ordered extra for another project but I wasn’t sure what the project would be. This strapless cocktail dress was my project of choice.

The bodice uses the foundation bodice from my February cocktail dress (Vogue 1174).

Double checking the lace for this dress.
The skirt is the one I used in my March project (Simplicity1460).
This guipure lace is woven with a lovely curved border and I again used scalloped border on the skirt hem.
Work in progress view from the front
Work in progress lace from the back
For this project, I cut into the lace across the top of the bodice for more wow.
Bodice lace work in progress
Getting the dimensions right is all in the prep work for this little cocktail number.
Overlaying the lace to finish the centre back seam evenly
Once I had placed the lace onto the dress, I was a bit disappointed that the flowers pointed down however the flower base points were balanced well across the bodice so I took advantage of this and cut into the lace for a more striking bodice edge.
Stepping out with the finished dress

Couture tools

These Prym tools really keep my sewing more accurate and looking more refined that I’ve done in the past. Prym’s red dot tools are ergonomically designed and the Prym Love range are just as well designed and very easy to find when you’re in the ‘throes of sewing up a storm’.

Using all the tools for a better finish
Prep work and Netflix
On both the front bodice and front skirt, I thread-basted the centre front seam. This made aligning the lace work more accurate and helped balance the lace features of this dress.

From my experience you need at least two boxes of pins to secure this type of lace onto your base fabric.

The back of this dress has the full lace across the bodice.

There’s a lot of lace hand sewing to reduce the shadowing that happens when you layer lace over satin. Believe me when I say there’s loads of applique stitching that took a good day to complete. It was during this time that Netflix became my BFF.

Foundation bodice
After making my February cocktail dress I decided to add a nicer looking foundation piece. One side of this foundation bodice is calico with 5cm seam allowances for the boning. The side you can see uses the lining fabric so the inside is a lovely as the outside of the dress.
The internal bodice reading for a different dress
It turns out that as awesome as this foundation piece is, the dress was fitted to me without the foundation piece so after diligently hand sewing this to the dress, I couldn’t close the zipper so I had to take out the foundation bodice. No great loss. I can still use this for a future dress, but I’ll build the dress around the foundation bodice.

Getting help

Now this is the part I needed an expert to check how well the dress fit on me. I went to Bobbin & Ink and the lovely Juliet checked the dress fit and we discovered I needed to add a bit of room at the zipper waist.
When I rechecked my toile pattern pieces, I had the adjusted seam line drawn in a lighter colour, hence this adjustment was the same as I had done in February.
hand finishing the zipper
Fit basics

If I was taller then I would wear clothes that have more flow and drape. However, I just don’t have the height or shape to wear lots of drape and feel confident. I always admire others who can wear clothes with lots of drape but at the end of the day, they don’t work for me.

The fit of the bodice is quite firm so while there’s no boning in the seam, the four layers of fabric keep this dress in place. It doesn’t slip and slide and the dress is very heavy.

I will add the boning to the seams later this month because I don’t think I could wear this with confidence without boning.
Conclusion

Couture sewing takes time and I’m really enjoying it. I prefer not to hand stitch but when the results are this good, I’d be kicking myself to not use my couture sewing skills more often.

The final results are so satisfying. Taking the to make special outfits will make it easier to agree to more formal functions in the future because I now have some really lovely outfits that I’ve made with the help of Minerva Crafts fabric and notion range.

Fabric stash catch up items

I’ve finally had a chance to go back to the garments I made during the fabric stash competition. The patterns I’ve used were ones that I’ve made before so this was the best way to make the fabric into clothing during the eight week period.

I adjusted this twist top by raising the neckline by 3 cm. It now sits better on my chest so I feel more comfortable wearing it. And I feel less embarrassed when I reach forward…


I enjoy this a-line dress and the fabric is a piece I bought at the first Akira fabric sale, a long time ago. The fabric is made with a crushed look so fitting isn’t a really issue, so it’s reliable to make up, when you have limited time.


This is a favourite and I made it up at a Sewing guild session on sewing with knit fabrics. The class was on during the fabric stash competition so while a learn a bit on the day, I was able to make this up within two hours, give or take a few minutes as I unpicked the gold trim because it had very little elastic in it 😦

Fabric stash #4 – summer silk McCalls 5050

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} catch(err) {} I bought this fabric on sale a Tessuti’s a couple of years ago and I easily made it into a top. French seams are a must but the fabric is so soft, making the top is just so enjoyable to do.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not smooth sailing because the last time I made up this top, I placed elastic on the sleeve so I automatically did the same to this top and the effect was useless.
The top of sleeves didn’t match to the top of the front and back views so I breathed deeply and used my scissors to make them match.
The fabric needs very little ironing and I used see-through elastic on the waistline and neckline. Again, I had to be courageous when I placed the wider elastic directly on the waistline. I also had to adjust the neckline elastic so that the neckline fell nicely on me decolletage.
It’s steaming hot outside so I’m happy to stay inside with the aircon and sew a few nice summer pieces for the fabric stash contest.

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Relaxed layer – McCalls 5050

This top is now going to be a pretty layer when I just want to relax on the weekend. The fabric is a silk chiffon so I’ll be wearing a singlet top underneath. Comments about this top consistently mentioned that it’s a maternity look top and you can adjust the front to adopt this for maternity wear. In my case, I just wanted a soft layer and use for the fabric.

The fabric is from Pitt Trading and I’ve been wanting to make it into something useful but feminine. Next I’ll try to add elastic on the sleeve, just above the elbow, to keep the waist slightly defined.

The side seams have french seams, clear elastic is used in the neckline casing but after unsuccessfully trying shirring elastic in the waist, I settled for more clear elastic. I’ve got some pale pink ribbon that the I might try along the neckline.

The biggest decision was how to finish the seams, hems and neckline because of the fine fabric. It works.