07 April 2013

I made the best dress ever

It's true. We can all stop trying now. Last weekend I made this. It fits perfectly and it's super cute. I'm not sure it can be beaten.

This pattern is New Look 6020. You see that 'Easy' label? It's not really easy. If I'd tried making this as a beginner, I would have given up very quickly. The pattern includes sewing curved edges to straight edges, facing (including on a v-neck), bias binding and a very long zip. I found it relatively easy, but that's only because I've been sewing for a couple of years now. I made view A, which has a curved front neck and a v-neck at the back.

The skirt fabric was chosen by Mr C. As it's a heavy drill, I didn't want to use it for the bodice like I did for my apple dress (which unfortunately has facing that sometimes rolls to the outside due to the weight). I used a black poplin instead, and this worked perfectly.

My favourite part of the dress is the v-neck at the back. I was worried that I wouldn't get the facing to sit quite right, but it's perfect. I wore the dress for a full day last weekend, and I didn't have to tuck the facing back inside once.

This dress fits so well that I've already cut out the fabric to make another one (this time it will be all in black cotton with a grey geometric pattern). It takes a while to make (a couple of hours to cut out the pieces, and 7 or 8 hours of sewing and pressing time), but it's well worth it to end up with something this good.

I have also recently made a simple black-and-white checked box-neck top (which is far better made than the first version I made a couple of years ago), but it's currently in the wash. It might be a while before I can upload photos of that one.

10 February 2013

Bunny skirt and spotty dress

This weekend I used some bunny fabric to make a simple gathered skirt (in the same style I've made countless times). I'd intended on making a different pattern, but I knew the gathered skirt would suit the fabric well.

A few weeks ago I also made another version of the Sew La Tea Do Miss Marlo pattern (used for my skull dress and also this pocket dress). I don't have any 'proper' photos of this one, just these in progress and hanger photos (as well as one on the Luna Park rollercoaster in Melbourne).

30 December 2012

Skull dress

I bought some fabric in the Spotlight post-Christmas sales, including this skull fabric. Mr C did not quite understand my choice of 'boy' fabric, but I figured I would make it look 'girly' as a skirt or a dress.

I wanted to have a go at using bias binding for my neck and arm holes (instead of bothering with facings), so I decided to try it on the Miss Marlo dress from Pip's Sew La Tea Do book. (I've previously used the same pattern for the dress and top in this post.) Most tutorials tell you to hand sew the binding on the inside so that the stitching doesn't show on the outside, but I can't be bothered with such time-consuming methods. The black stitching is barely visible on the binding (unless you're looking very closely), so I'm happy with it.

Aside from the binding, I also took the dress in slightly and make it a bit longer than the pattern. It's certainly not something I'd wear every day (perhaps it's not work appropriate!), but I'm pretty happy with it nevertheless. Even if I do look like a teenage boy trapped in a 30-year-old woman's body...

02 December 2012

Mustard pear top with collar

Included in my fabric haul from Spotlight last week was some mustard-coloured cotton with a white pear print. I originally planned to make a skirt with it, but yesterday wondered how it would look as a top with a Peter Pan collar. I didn't have a pattern for such a thing, so I decided to adapt this top and add the collar myself. After scouring my pattern books, I found the perfect collar design in a book of 1980s kids' party dresses.

There's not much to say here, other than it turned out amazing. I'm quite comfortable boasting about this one. Everything is perfect. The zip is perfect, the fit is perfect and, of course, the collar is perfect. I sewed the collar pieces together and attached them to the shirt front right before I added the neck facing. I don't think I couldn't have planned it better.

I think after this success, I'm going to add collars to tops more often...

25 November 2012

Japanese cotton sateen skirt

I recently purchased a few cheap New Look patterns online, but didn't have any suitable fabrics for them. A visit to Spotlight and $98 later, I ended up with an assortment of designs that I could instantly picture as dresses and skirts.

I decided that the red and cream Japanese cotton sateen floral print would work perfectly as a skirt, and cut out the pieces for view D of this (minus the bows).

This is a really simple skirt to make (I even followed all of the instructions to the letter without cutting corners!). That said, I always struggle to get outside pockets looking as perfect as they should be. Even though my pocket stitching is a little wonky on the rounded corners, it's not too noticeable as the fabric is vibrant enough to detract away from it.

I made a size 8, which sits a little lower on the hips than I'd like. This is probably because I'm used to making high-waisted skirt designs, but I think next time I might make a 6. If I omitted the pockets, I could very easily sew the skirt together in under two hours.

04 November 2012

Black denim meringue skirt

I bought the Colette Sewing Handbook earlier this year, but hadn't tackled any of its projects until this weekend. I'd had my eye on the meringue skirt, so decided to try and make a black denim version.

While this is a very easy pattern to make, it's extremely fiddly in terms of hand-sewing and pressing. I decided to ignore a lot of the pattern instructions and do whatever the hell I wanted, because I consider myself some sort of sewing renegade. Or maybe I'm just impatient and like to cut corners.

Anyway, this took forever due to turning in and pressing all of the scalloped edges. I'm still not entirely happy with the curves, so I haven't fully hand-stitched the hem yet in case I want to try and round the edges some more. You see how I look cranky? That's because I am. How unusual.

I decided to use a black and white gingham for the facing. It's probably a little too light for this kind of thing, and I probably would have been better off using a heavier cotton.

I like this skirt design, but I probably wouldn't make it again. I spent at least two hours cutting the pattern and fabric, and about six hours constructing the skirt (including pressing and hand-sewing). There are plenty more skirt patterns that look just as good and require far less (or no) hand-stitching, so this won't become one of my staple designs.

14 October 2012

Candy stripe skirt

Yesterday Mr C was being crafty, so I decided to make good use of my own time and make a skirt. I'd had this fabric cut for over a year but never bothered to sew it, which meant that it only took me a couple of hours to pull the skirt together.

This is the same pattern I've used half a dozen times. It's easy to create a unique look with each one by customising it with different fabrics, buttons, zips and pockets. This candy stripe fabric was given to me by a friend (I've used it to make a summer dress previously). The buttons are from Skull Buttonry (where all of your button purchases help to feed kids at the Foundation18 orphanage in Indonesia).