Sunday, 31 August 2014

A Planetary Coco

I should know better by now than to just "pop in" to Tessuti for a browse. "Just looking, no buying" I tell myself. Pfft! Who am I kidding?

I had some time to kill before a food blogger lunch in Chatswood recently so I thought I'd just duck into Tessuti for a quick lap. And then I spotted this AWESOME acrylic knit which felt just lovely, all drapy and cozy. Better still the fabric is called "Space, the final frontier". Irresistible to a Star Trek fangirl like myself (Voyager is my series of choice just incidentally {for those of you who are curious}).

Although the Coco pattern isn't perfect on me I feel that I have finally found a pattern that fits and will work (reasonably) well in different types of knits (theory yet to be tested of course). So I've made myself a "spacey Coco".

Urgh, does anyone else hate cutting out on the floor as much as I do? I don't want my own sewing room as I find sewing alone quite lonely...but I'd KILL for a great bit cutting table.

Despite my best efforts to get the neckband "just right" I failed. Spectacularly. Why so much gape Coco? Honestly I hated the neckline of this dress so much I was contemplating just chucking it into the Vinnie's bag. For some reason the gape was also making the dress REALLY darn uncomfortable on my shoulders.  Unpicking the neck would've destroyed the fabric as it just frays/falls apart quite easily as soon as the unpicker is near it.

I think I probably lost a bit of sleep over this dress as I was disappointed. I kept trying it on and looking at the gapey neckline. It seemed like such a shame to chuck the dress as the fabric was SO AMAZING! I then thought I could just turn the neckline in on itself and stitch it down...and you know what? It actually kinda worked though it's a bit bulky, almost like quilting. The neck sits much closer to my body now and for some reason is more comfortable (though not perfect) on my dodgy shoulders.

I wore the dress to work and got quite a few compliments so that was nice. However, when my boss didn't comment on my dress I made sure he knew it was handmade (by me)...and that he should say it is awesome (he obliged). I was "mostly" comfortable for "most of the day". As the day wears on and my shoulder gets sorer and sorer and clothes get more and more uncomfortable as they restrict my movement. But I work in an office and nakedness is frowned upon despite our casual approach to dressing. I think next time I'm not going to take Tilly's advice of sewing ribbon to stablise the shoulder seams...I'll use clear elastic (another of her suggestions I think) as that should give the shoulder a bit more "give".

Big thanks to my work buddy Kirsty for taking the photos for me as my in-house photo was away. It was pretty windy (can you tell) and we had to dodge people coming in and out of the building but that's life in the big city, hey?

Until next time Trekkies!

Monday, 18 August 2014

When best laid plans go belly up!

A few Saturdays ago a handful of the Sydney Spoolettes got together for a sewing day at a community hall in Erskinville (thanks to Bohdana for arranging this)!

For the day I decided to whip up my dress for our upcoming Frocktails shindig that is happening in mid-September. Sadly my dress-making skills, or patience, haven't progressed much beyond the April Rhodes Party Peplum Dress I was sewing this time last year. I reckon I could insert a lap-zipped if push came to shove, but whenever I read about how to install a lining my brain just shuts down.

Never fear, the Party Peplum Dress is here!

I'd bought two fabrics from Spotlight...both on sale, and both nice enough I think to elevate a basic dress into something a tiny bit more special. Of course the night before the sewing day I was cutting out my fabrics only to realize I didn't have enough fabric to make either of the dresses. GAH! Both of the fabrics were quite narrow (is ALL fabric at Spotlight narrow - is that there thing I wonder?) and I just hadn't bought enough length to compensate for the lack of width.

Hmmm...Houston we have a (sewing day) problem!

Spoiler alert: luckily when I RACED into Spotlight the following morning they had *just* enough fabric left on both bolts for me to make my dresses so I could finish cutting out my dresses - I just couldn't use it for the sewing day as they'd not be pre-wahsed or dried.

I can now totally see the value of having a "fabric stash", albeit a small one. As I dug around in my fabric cupboard I found some cotton bought from My Hung in Parramatta for about $6.60/meter. There was AMPLE for a Party Peplum...and it hindsight it was best to make this dress up again as a toile as I was finally make it in a size smaller than my usual XXL that always turns out too big.

Despite turning up to the sewing day about 2 hours late, and basically talking and eating biscuits for the WHOLE day, I manged to pretty much finish the dress...I just had to do the hem one I go home.

I'm glad I made up a toile as, whilst the dress fits in the smaller size, I need some more room under the arms, and the bust darts need to be lowered. AND the best part? As this fabric was so inexpensive I popped up the road to buy more of it to make up the dress again as I think this is going to make a really cute summer dress.

My photographer/husband is currently away in Europe (tough life for some) so I'm afraid this is the only photo I have of the dress on my body.

One of these I'm going to have the PERFECT Party Peplum Dress...I will!

Until next time...

Sunday, 3 August 2014

The "Yum/Yuck" Pocket Full of Posies Dress

If this dress was a dish on Masterchef I have no doubt that Matt Preston would be referring it to a "yum/yuck" dish. And you're right Matt...I cannot figure out if I love it or hate it either!

The pattern is the "pocket full of posies dress" by Blank Slate Patterns. I don't even know where I stumbled across this pattern but somehow it ended up on one of my Pinterest boards. I was attracted to it as I LOVE a dress with big pockets (or any pockets) and it's designed for knits...and I love knits. Whilst I'm loving sewing my Coco dresses I don't want to be a one trick pony and I thought this pattern would allow me to mix things up a bit.

The fabric is a fluke find from Lincraft and it's so ugly that it's fabulous. It feels fantastic and I'm kinda cross with myself that I didn't save this for a "proper dress" rather than a toile. SO. MUCH. REGRET.

Overall I think I like the concept of this dress...but it's a bit long, and possibly shapeless on me. I went for the longer version as I'm fairly tallish...but I think it has made the dress a bit too frumpy. I "could" cut the band off and shorten the dress but that does seem like a lot of effort. I think it'll most likely become an "around the house dress". I initially sewed the largest size but I took it in from about the bust down the hem - leaving the sleeves and underarms the same size as the pattern suggests.

I really love the pockets. They are HUGE and came together fairly easily although I think the pattern needed a few extra steps for me to make it a really simple sew. Lucky Dave was home when I was sewing this as he stepped in to help work out which way things where supposed to go in the absences of enough photos/pattern instructions for me.

Like I said the pockets are HUGE! Not only can you have a pocket full of posies, you can pop your handheld vaccuum clenaer in there, your pot plants...heck forget about using a handbag! You don't need it with these mammoth pockets.

There are quite a few layers to sew through at the front of the dress when attaching the neckline due to the four pleats and also where the center front attaches to the pocket facing thingy-ma-jiggy.  Or is it where the side pieces attach to the pocket facing thingy-ma-jiggy and then that attaches to the centre front?'s just BULKY is what I'm trying to say. And bulky = whoopy-all-over-the-place sewing.

There is also some drooping at the front of the neckband which you can see below. I'm thinking that this is because it's too loose? Seriously people, what is the problem here as I do have this issue A LOT.

If you look closely you can also see that bulkiness of the pleats and that the side piece/pocket piece/center front (or whatever piece attaches to whatever) probably need to be topstiched down - but the pattern doesn't mention this from memory so it didn't get done. I think this is adding to the bulk.

So there you have it. The dress fits, and is a fairly easy sew, but needs to be shortened if I make it again and also taken in a bit. I also need to take my time and sew it a bit neater.

What do you think - should I give it another whirl?