Monday, 9 November 2015

all the casual ladies (the casual lady dress by go to patterns)

i made quite a few of the casual lady dress by go to patterns last summer (i think maybe 6…) and i have just made a new one this summer.  the pattern description is:

"The perfect comfortable, easy wear, top or dress sewing pattern. With simple construction methods you’ll be making these quickly to fill up your closet. Choose your favorite knit fabric and get started today!"

knit dress and fill your closet - perfect!

this first one below is made from a soft ponte from girl charlee. the second one (my recent make) is a navy + white stripe knit from joys fabric warehouse (woo hoo they now have an online shop). the third one is a black and white spot from the fabric store and lastly a white + navy stripe ponte from spotlight.

i used medium size for all of the dresses as it is the size that correlates with my measurements and it is a good fit for me. depending on the type of fabric though i have also taken in some of the dresses along the hip line to better match my body shape. i used my sewing machine for all construction.

the pattern provides for a fully faced neckline, but i haven't done this for any of my versions.  i just removed 1/4" off the neckline and cap sleeves, turned them under and stitched them down with my twin needle - this makes for an incredibly quick make.  although for the white + navy ponte version i did use a contrast navy binding for the neckline and sleeves.

i added 2 darts at the back of all of my dresses to pull them in and give a bit more shape - you can just make out the darts in the photo above.

i've also changed the hemline around for a bit of variety, including different high-low finishes.

this is such a simple dress to make, its easy to wear and is another win for secret pyjamas - am sure there will be yet more versions to come.


Wednesday, 4 November 2015

darn cheap fabrics seasonal challenge - spring 2015

welcome to darn cheap fabrics seasonal challenge - spring 2015.  this season lara chose the fabric.  she posted a pic of a number of fabrics she bought at darn cheap fabrics on instagram early in spring and i was immediately drawn to this printed viscose, so we agreed to use it for our spring 2015 challenge. its no longer available online, but lara said it was still available recently at the heidelberg store.

originally i thought i would make another pair of named alexandria peg leg trousers but when i got the fabric in the mail i thought it would be better made up as a dress.  

i decided on the april rhodes staple dress which had been in my pattern stash for some time. after a bit of review searching on the interwebs i decided on cutting a size small as that was the size that best correlated with my bust measurements - something the instructions suggest you do.

in hindsight i really should have checked the finished measurements as the 3" ease was a bit much for me so i ended up taking the dress in to what effectively is the extra small size.  its a tiny bit comfy around my hips, but not too tight and overall is a very comfortable dress to wear.

i do find that the neckline pulls up, as shown in the picture below.  many of the google images i looked at before starting do not have this problem.  i'm not sure whether this is because of the size i ended up making (a size small taken in to an extra small along side seams only) or the drapey nature of the fabric or that my waist shirring is not in the right place. regardless i don't really mind, i just pull it down every now and then when i am wearing it.  next time i will pay a bit more attention to where i put the shirring though.

i originally cut out and sewed the inseam pockets, but in the end removed them as i was worried they stuck out a bit through the fabric at hip level - which is an area i would prefer not to draw attention to. without the pockets this is a pretty straightforward make with no closures.

i used some left over brown voile to make the required bias bindings.  by constructing the dress with no pockets and using left over fabric for the bindings i was able to get this dress out of 1.2/1.3m of 55" fabric which is a lot less than 2 and a half yards suggested on the pattern for the full dress, pockets and bindings. 

i had never shirred before and originally i made an internal casing for the waist and threaded 2 thin pieces of elastic to bring the waist in.  this took a lot of time and in the end didn't look very good. so i purchased some shirring elastic and gave it a shot and was quite surprised how easy it was.  i did two rows of shirring as i think the print of this dress looks better with a thin belt.  i was quite enjoying the shirring though so could have happily done many, many more rows.

i am 167cm tall and i did a minimal 1/4" hem to keep the length just above knee level.  next time i will add a small amount to the length to allow for a bigger hem.

i really love this dress, it is perfect for summer work wear and i am definitely keen to make another. now to pop over to lara's blog and see her make as i know she was making a dress too.


Monday, 12 October 2015

named patterns alexandria peg legs - two ways (+ giveaway winner call out)

when named patterns released their ticket collection for SS15 i was drawn to most of the patterns, but particularly the alexandria peg leg trousers and the inari tee dress.  i've made two inari tee dresses and both have been duds, but i'm determined to try and make it work.  luckily the peg leg trousers were a winner pretty much straight up.

for my first pair i made a size 40 which is the size that most closely matches my measurements.  the result was more lounge pants than peg leg.  so for this version made from a cotton from the fabric store i sized down to size 38.  i made no alterations other than to increase the width of the waist band to accommodate 3cm wide elastic instead of the 2.5cm that the pattern calls for as my local fabric store only had 3cm wide elastic. i also omitted the drawstring.

the pattern instructions are easy to follow and the pants came together easily.  here's a close up of the fabric as it is hard to photograph from a distance.

i made another simplicity 1366 to wear with the pants.  i have been wanting a black one for ages and made this up in a bargain ponte from that actually has a sparkly silver leopard print on the right side, which is on the inside of this top.


these pants are so comfy (more work gear that are really secret pjs - side cheers) i decided i needed multiple pairs so i also made them up in a light weight dark chambray from joys fabric warehouse in geelong. these ones are really comfy and perfect for casual or more dressy wear.

i also got two set on this pair and made a maria denmark kimono tee from a spotlight knit, my previous kimono tees can be seen here.  simplicity 1366 and the kimono tee are definitely my go to summer tops. they make up very quickly and i like the lines of both designs.

i've been making shorts lately - hopefully i will blog them soon, but really do want to get back onto that inari...

finally, a shout out to deadlycraft who won my giveaway - apologies i should have included 'giveaway winner in my last post title.  i've been keeping an eye on my junk mail but haven't seen a message from you.  please resend or email me and let me know in the comments so i know to check my junk mail.


Sunday, 19 July 2015

darn cheap fabrics seasonal challenge - winter 2015

it's darn cheap fabrics seasonal challenge time again.  lara went shopping for the fabric solo and the first  photo she messaged me was a scuba fabric with bright colours 'splashed' on a black background.  i messaged back saying that i loved it - so much so that i already had bought some after seeing it on chooktopia's instagram feed! i am constantly amazed at how many of the same fabrics lara and i are drawn too and why this challenge is so fun.

i had recently seen nikki's itch to stitch lindy petal skirt and was very keen to give it a go. i was drawn to the overlapping curved front panels as a point of difference from other knit skirts.  i messaged lara and said that i was going to make a 'new to me' skirt and also a top from another DCF fabric i had in my stash that i purchased on a previous shopping trip with her.  she messaged back saying she was going to make a skirt too and wondered if it was the same one?  i wrote back saying mine was a free indie pattern and she wrote back saying hers too! snap!

so here's my version of the lindy petal skirt.

using lara's advice that the sizing was true (she finished her skirt first), i made a straight small as the measurements matched mine perfectly and i am very happy with the fit.

lara also mentioned that the waistband application was not what she expected.  i checked the instructions and decided to do my waistband differently.  firstly i made mine 3/4"wider so that i could use 1 1/2" wide elastic, a width i like for knit skirts.  secondly i attached the waistband to the skirt, making a traditional casing to insert my elastic through rather than stitching my elastic to the waistband fabric as the instructions suggest.  i always get nervous that it will go wrong stitching elastic directly onto the waistband fabric and prefer to do a simple casing instead - it worked out fine.  i stitched the casing seam allowance down to the skirt body using zig zag stitch which you can just make out in the photo below.

lastly, i finished the hem using my twin needle.  this is such a quick, fun make - the pattern went together beautifully and the fabric was a dream to sew, it reminds me a lot of the fabric i used to make my recent simplicity 2054 dress. i will definitely make this pattern again, most probably in navy or black ponte first.  

nikki mentions in her blog post that she would be happy to pay for this pattern and i totally agree - it's such a great pattern and itch to stitch have gone to a lot of effort providing detailed instructions.  i would highly recommend the pattern.

i also made another grainline linden to go with the skirt, my first linden is here.  this time i made view b which has a cropped hemline and short sleeves.  i added cuffs to my sleeves and hemline after seeing cutcutsew's great versions.  i also made a size 6 this time and am happier with the fit, with the exception of the sleeves which sit a bit twisted.  they seem to be cut on grain so i'm not sure what happened, nonetheless the twisting won't stop me wearing the top!

another very successful DCF seasonal challenge, thanks lara - i am so keen to pop over to your blog to see your version of the lindy!

the GIVEAWAY winner from my last post is deadlycraft - congratulations! please message me at elhitchens(at)hotmail(dot)com and i will send your fabric to you.


Sunday, 14 June 2015

quilted knit linden sweatshirt - the not the inari tee dress post + giveaway

i did try to make an inari tee dress in this quilted knit fabric that i picked up at the crazy scramble that is the clegs** boxing day remnant sale, but it was a BIG time disaster.  the cocoon shape of the inari dress is more suited to fabric with a nice drape - unfortnately this fabric is more wobbly than drapey.

so after getting over the disappointment of wasting my time on something that was doomed to fail from the beginning, i started to think about how I could save the fabric.  luckily for me at around this time the lovely jane from melbourne offered me an excess copy of the grainline linden sweatshirt pattern she had.

dud inari tee dress then became super wearable linden sweatshirt - phew.

i could salvage nearly enough of the fabric for the front and back but not sleeves, which i didn't mind as i thought a contrast sleeve would would well with the quilted knit fabric.  i used a black merino sweater knit from the fabric store that i bought during one of their recent 40% off sales.  i also used a black ribbing for the cuffs and bands.

according to the size chart for the pattern i am a size 6 bust, size 12 waist and 8 hip.  based on some google searching of finished lindens and the finished measurements for the pattern i decided to make a size 8.  wearing it, i find it just a tad big so am going to try a 6 next time.

i said above that i had nearly enough for the front and back from my salvaged fabric.  i was a little short so i pieced two panels on the back at the sides with the stripe pattern going horizontal - i am actually pretty pleased with how this worked out.

as most bloggers have noted the sleeves are lonngggg! (have i mentioned before just how much i appreciate the on-line sewing community giving you a head start at knowing how a pattern will make up?!)  i removed 5cm from the length as rachel posted on IG that she removed 5cm and i kinda thought our arm length may be similar(!) so i went with 5cm and am happy with the finished length.

from dud to wearable - i'm happy.


i recently passed 150 followers of my blog.  i am very appreciative that people want to follow my blog and it encourages me to keep going.  to celebrate i have 1.5m of a mystery tessuti fabric to giveaway - mystery because i can't actually remember what it is.  i am terrible with fibre contents, but it is a soft lawn or voile (or perhaps rayon???) kind of fabric.  if you would like to become the new owner just leave me a comment saying you would like the fabric and details of how i can contact you.  i am happy to post anywhere.  i'll announce the winner next post, so you can enter up until my next post.


** at time of posting i think the quilted knit fabric was still available at joys fabric warehouse in geelong victoria.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

it's all about the fabric - pitt trading double knit (cynthia rowley simplicity 2054)

in my sewing i often seem to sew a lot of one type of garment for a while before swapping to another garment type.  at the moment its dresses, and more particularly the knit dress.

the fabric is a double knit from pitt trading.  i was drawn to the fabric as soon as i saw it on the pitt trading IG feed.  i wasn't able to get in store so called and ordered the fabric over the phone - the service was very helpful and quick.

the girl i spoke to at pitt trading initially called the fabric 'scuba like' when i was describing it.  i was a bit worried as i don't find thick scuba suitable for dresses, but she assured me it would be ok for a dress and she was right.  i have worn this many times already and the material breathes fine.  the fabric is also reasonably slippery so perfect for wearing with tights.  but the thing i love most about this fabric is the COLOURS!! the bright colours are perfect to brighten up dull winter days.

the pattern is my tnt for knit dresses - cynthia rowley simplicity 2054.  i have made this pattern many many times before.  i make a size 10 even though my waist and hip measurements are between size 14 and 16.  i vary the seam allowance width depending on the stretch and thickness of the fabric - for this fabric i used 3/8".  i also add two darts at the back to get a fitted result.

for this version i went for 3/4 length sleeves as i was worried that the fabric would not breath well - but as i said i haven't had any troubles with this.  the pattern has a binding for the neckline but for this dress i turned the neck under 1/4" and used a twin needle which worked out fine. 

so yes its definitely another 'no iron work wardrobe' win woot woot and yes i really need to make a grainline morris blazer as i only have one rtw work jacket and a whole bunch of cardys.

while i do love this pattern i am keen to try some new knit dress patterns too - next on my to make list is the named inari tee dress, hopefully i will be blogging one soon!


Sunday, 3 May 2015

darn cheap fabrics seasonal challenge - autumn 2015

woot woot it's a blog post, it's been a while and i am very happy to be back posting.

firstly, i should note that my blog graphics have been vastly improved by the very talented alex from when all you need is...  she has done an AMAZING job for me and am really happy that my graphics now reflect a bit of the real ernest flagg.

back to the challenge - a seasonal challenge where lara and i use the same fabric from darn cheap fabrics and make up whatever takes our fancy.  i had some surgery on my leg and haven't been able to travel to melbourne for a while so lara did the choosing this time.  when she messaged me a pic of the fabric i loved it immediately, if i had been at dcf with her it is definitely a fabric i would have been drawn to straight away. lara's message said it was a poly knit, almost like a fine gauge jumper knit. its a lovely fabric and very stable to sew.

my make is a moneta / lady skater mash up and i am thrilled with how it worked out.  i have never hacked patterns together before but figured a knit would be very forgiving so went for it without a stunt run.

i have made the lady skater previously, a great pattern but the main problem for me, as rachel points out is also an issue for her with the dixie diy ballet dress is that it hugs the tummy a bit too much for me.  hence i thought the moneta would be a good option as it has a gathered skirt.

i bought the colette moneta pattern before googling for reviews.  once it was in my inbox i started to look for some reviews and rachel's was one of the first that came up.  she points out that she got excess fabric in the upper bust area.  when i stuck the pdf together it struck me that the bodice looked like a weird shape at the side seams so i decided to do a mash up with the kitschychoo lady skater.

i did the following simple mash up:
  • used the lady skater bodice, straightened off the bottom and added the moneta neckline
  • used the moneta skirt

i used 3/8" seam allowance throughout, except for joining the bodice to the skirt where i used 1/2" to give me a smidgen more allowance to help get some nice gathers. when joining the bodice to the skirt i started the gathers in ernest from about 1 and 3/4"from the side seams so that i don't get extra bulk near my hips.

i constructed the entire dress on my overlocker (a first for me) and used a twin needle on my sewing machine for the neckline and hems.  about a minute after sewing the shoulders and sleeves on it occurred to me that i really should have lined the bodice but at this stage i couldn't be bothered unpicking the sleeves. its ok, but i might look into getting a slip to wear underneath it for a bit of extra warmth in winter.

this will be a great dress for work and works well with a black jacket.  it is a perfect addition to my 'no iron' work wardrobe. win!

doing all of the construction on my overlocker made this an incredibly quick make and i will be on the look out for another suitable fabric to make this dress again to add to my no iron work wardrobe. i am quite new to turning under necklines and sewing them down with a twin needle.  does anyone have any tips on how to approach the shoulder seams? my machine struggles getting over the seam bulk.  having said that i really should just start using my cover stitch machine now i seem to have conquered my fears with overlockers… 

even though its been a while since posts i have been doing a lot of sewing so if i can get some photos taken i have lots more to show you in future posts.

now i'm excited to go and check out lara's make.