Secret Pajamas {Jalie 2805. Kinda}

webDSC_8589This will probably be my shortest blog post ever. Basically I channeled my inner 5 year old and made a dress out of unbrushed fleece (I would call it french terry, but whatever. Sweatshirt fabric but without the fleece, just the little loops). If you were a child during the 80s, you had one of these for sure. Probably with a little flippy skirt and a cute animal on the front. My skirt is less flippy and the bison are probably less cute than the koala I had on mine, but I digress.

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We are off to visit my husband’s relatives soon, which means a big drive. I wanted something really comfy to wear in the car and it also had to be warm as it will be dark and cold when we arrive. Pajamas. I pretty much wanted socially acceptable pajamas. I used Jalie 2805 which is a womens and girls t shirt pattern, cropped it at waist height and added two gathered skirt panels. Pockets too, of course. So easy. I paid special attention to the layout so I didn’t end up with bison boobs, the print is the perfect size and spacing to fall into that trap. The sleeves on the pattern didn’t have the cuffs, so I shortened them a touch and added them. It mostly went according to plan but I didn’t really consider the fabric’s lack of stretch (seriously, it was like sewing a woven – so easy), it barely has any. So the sleeves are a wee bit tight, but nothing that will ruin my day. Fabric is unbrushed fleece from Spotlight. I used my overlocker for most of it and it took me an hour from cutting to hemming. A super easy sew. Bring on the drive and maybe a nap.

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Say Mesh to the Dress {Megan Nielsen Sudley Dress}

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I had a function to go to on Friday night. On Thursday I found out it was cocktail, rather than casual. Incidentally, when I was in Brisbane last weekend, I spotted (LOL) a pretty lady wearing a gorgeous polka dot mesh dress. I was going to be a creeper and ask where she got it, but I figured it was something I could probably make myself. I’ve seen a number of mesh RTW dresses around lately (without a lining) and I love the look.

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Then the remnant table at Spotlight provided, in the form of $8/m. Challenge accepted. So on Thursday when I found out I needed a dressier dress, I wracked my brain to think of a pattern I could use. I wanted a floaty, relaxed fit – that way I wouldn’t have to bother with a zip in fine fabric. I wanted those McCalls 7542 sleeves again because FASHUN. And then it hit me, my darling Sudley. I have made it many times before, but usually it’s a summery, beachy choice. Not today, Sudley. Today we are going AFTER DARK. And we did.

The first thing I did was replace my needle with a sparkly fresh fine sharp one.

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First hurdle: I should do french seams because they are visible through the dress. Did I have time for french seams? Not really. So I just ended up using my overlocker. Quick and neat. Not as neat as french seams, but to be honest it’s not super noticeable.

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Second hurdle: Neck closure. Megan suggests ties or a hook and eye. I wasn’t thrilled about either for this dress. Ties seemed to casual and I thought I could do better than hook and eye. Instead I used a black fabric covered button from my stash and fine black elastic for the loop. Looks cool, not that you can see it. Sorry.

Third Hurdle: That collar. This one caused me the biggest brain strain. Usually, you’d use iron on interfacing to give the collar a bit of structure, but that can’t happen in this case because you’d see it through the mesh. I turned to my FB sewing group for this one and a clever lady suggested organza, which is brilliant – light but still structured. That led me to remember the black bra lining in my stash, which is a lot like organza, it’s very light but very strong as it has to prevent stretch in bra cups and bridges. Perfect. It worked really well. For consistency I used the overlocker for the collar pieces too.

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Fourth Hurdle: Not really a hurdle, but I wasn’t keen on attempting my first rolled hem and I knew a standard hem wouldn’t look right, so I used black bias binding to finish the dress and sleeve hems. I also used it in place of the facing on the neckline and keyhole.

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All that I needed was a slinky black slip (not made by me), shoes and a clutch and I was event ready, baby. Oh and you know, hair and make up and all that stuff.

Will definitely wear this one again.

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Crazy Dog Lady Item #456 {Grainline Studio Cascade Duffle Coat}

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Duffle coat? That ain’t no duffle coat!

Correct. I’m honestly bloody proud of this effort because I had to adjust that pattern in ways my brain really didn’t like, but look! I love it.

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So, I was bumbling about in Spotlight recently (something I don’t get to do often because our nearest store is 45 mins away, but they had $5 patterns so it was worth the trip) and found this really cool soft shell fleece. I’d never seen anything like it available as fabric before, but to be honest, I’ve never really looked. They had two prints – the dogs and a cloud print in pink. That was an agonising decision and quite frankly, I can’t promise that I won’t go back for the pink. At $20/m I thought it was pretty well priced and it feels like it’s decent quality too. So I grabbed two metres and hoped that would be enough for a jacket.

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Main Fabric: Soft Shell Fleece from Spotlight

Facing Fabric: Cotton and Steel

Pattern: Grainline Studio Cascade Duffle Coat

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I’ve made this pattern before as per all the instructions and I do love it. And maybe if I’d used my brain, I could have scoured the pattern books for an unlined, zip up jacket pattern instead. But noooooo. I assumed I’d have something suitable in my stash at home. Well, turns out I didn’t.

That’s fine! I’ll just adjust the Cascade pattern!

Alright in theory, a bit harder in practice. The coat is lined and I didn’t want my jacket to be, so there were a few adjustments there. I ended up binding each seam so it looked super pretty. I regretted that decision about halfway through, but now I’m really glad that I made the effort.

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FYI this stuff doesn’t seem to fray and besides that, I could have overlocked everything to finish it, but this looks cooler. Wobbly stitching and all. Those armholes were a bugger.

I was most worried about omitting those zipper bands and attaching the zip to the front pieces. I just extended the front band slightly and facings slightly and it all turned out fine. I don’t know if that’s the legit way to do it, but it works for me.

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The original pattern has facings to finish the hem, sleeves and hood. I wasn’t sure about the additional bulk with this fabric (in hindsight it probably would have been fine, it wasn’t a problem to sew anyway), but I figured I’d just continue with the binding and finish the raw edges that way. Until I ran out. So I used the cool C+S fabric for the hem.

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I probably should have sewed the pockets on before the facing, but I don’t mind that the stitching is through the facing, it holds it in place. I also stitched it though the jacket at the shoulder seams because it was flipping up all the time. In the proper duffle version, you stitch it to the lining, so that’s not a problem and the finish is super clean.

Anyway, damn pleased with this guy. Not sure how water proof it is, but it will be great for those chilly days when it’s windy and I’m sure it will go ok in light showers.

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Like A Pirate {McCalls 7542}

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If you haven’t seen McCalls 7542 in your travels yet, well quite frankly, I don’t know what you’ve been doing with your life. Or maybe you’re not a sewing nerd like me. In all honesty, you’ve probably seen similar in RTW while you wander around the shops. I wanted it as soon as I saw it, as I knew it would fill that ‘what to wear with jeans’ gap in my wardrobe. The curse of too many dresses.

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I nabbed the pattern and the fabric (which is cotton poplin) from my local Spotlight over the weekend. Apparently this pattern is sold out in a lot of places, so I was lucky to score it. I know you want to know about my awesome bee necklace, it’s from the lovely Natalie over at Fancy Lady Industries. It’s a Teddy bee, which I love, because we have those cute fatties hovering around our lavender from time to time.

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Overall it went together super fast. The instructions have a bit of a weird way of attaching the lower sleeve to the upper sleeve but I just ignored that and went about it my own way. There’s no zip or anything, just a hook and eye at the back of the neck. I was lazy and just overlocked the sleeve hems, folded them over and stitched, but I think I’ll finish them with binding next time.

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The shape is quite boxy and although poplin was one of the fabrics recommended on the envelope, I can’t wait to make a version in something much more drapey, like rayon. The sleeves remind me of something a pirate would dig, but I think I’m ok with them.

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Oh and you know the best part about this pattern? Good old McCalls do cup size variations. So I went straight to my old friend the D cup pattern piece and it’s a great fit at the bust. No FBA! YAS! I have plans to use this bodice again with different variations. Including a very 80s collar.

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The Great Finishing {Tilly and the Buttons Rosa Dress}

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This weekend was spent finishing off a pile of UFOs I had languishing in a basket, mocking me for too long. Most of it was really boring and involved unpicking and sewing on buttons, but this Rosa was pick of the litter.

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I wasn’t sure why I had ignored it for so long. I cut it out just after making my last one and I adore the fabric, so it’s not that I was feeling particularly uninspired. Then when I was getting towards the end, it hit me. Buttons. Twelve of them. It always feels like a huge task, but when I get into the swing of it, it’s fine. And yeah, my machine has a one step buttonhole function. If I had to do those suckers manually it would be a different story. There’s also a lot of top stitching, which I have done in grey thread because my top stitching isn’t something that I want to draw attention to.

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I would also like to point out that I’ve made everything I’m wearing except my shoes and tights. And I hear you say ‘Yeah? So you made a dress? That’s nothing new, Katie.’ That’s true, but think about what you can’t see. Yep, bra and knickers are made by me also. And since I’m bragging, would you take a look at the projection and shape of that right boob? God I love this bra. It’s Kwik Sew 3594. I have four of them now. A lot of women prefer a rounded shape to the well, boob shape. But I personally do like a boob-shaped boob. Yeah, we went there. I just wanted to highlight it because a lot of people seem to think handmade bras are unsupported-wrestling-puppies-in-a-sack kind of situations, but I assure you they aren’t.

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Onward. You want to know where everything is from:

Pattern: Tilly and the Buttons Rosa Dress

Fabric: Robert Kaufman Chambray

Buttons: thrifted. Got a bag of about 200 wooden buttons for $2. Do recommend.

Shoes: Vintage Dr Martens scored on ebay. Not sewn obviously, but lots of people ask me about them.

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Ignore the orange ear. Apparently he’s been wandering through the garden, helping the bees pollinate. Still tilted to the left, as you can see. Bloody dog and his bloody ears.

I haven’t shared much about the construction of this Rosa as I covered it in my last one. I didn’t make any changes except the placement of the sleeve tabs – I just rolled them to where I wanted and put them in the right spot. Easy. Now excuse me as I swan off to the yacht club in my nautical dress.

Kidding. I’m going to reheat leftover Thai and do some work.

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It’s Good Friday {Pauline Alice Turia Dungarees}

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It didn’t start as a Good Friday. In fact, it started with me in tears, hugging my dog on the floor. Which I should probably explain. He wasn’t feeling well yesterday, a bit off his food, a bit drooly and just unhappy really. I thought I’d take him to the vet then because I didn’t want him to get worse and end up paying a billion dollars in vet fees on a public holiday. HA. So I took him, they did bloods and basically were none the wiser. Diagnosis: maybe he ate something he shouldn’t have. I suspected ears, but I ain’t no vet. Fast forward to this morning and he had deteriorated into a stumbling, circling drunken sailor with the inability to focus his eyes. It was upsetting, I was concerned about the billion dollar vet fees. But alas, I had seen this before. Vestibular disease, middle ear infection related. I’d bet my life savings on it.

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(Old pic, he’s firmly on the floor today).

Long story short, I have a couple of angels in my life that were looking out for us. Phone calls were made, strings were pulled and Sid is now resting comfortably on all the right medication. Tomorrow he’ll have a proper check up, but for now he is ok. And I saved a billion dollars. MARVELOUS. What a bloody Good Friday.

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So what does one do when she is stressing out about her dog? She sews the Turia Dungarees that she’s been meaning to make for close to a year. Oh yes. So wise. Spoiler: I made so many stupid mistakes. Ridiculous mistakes that I haven’t made for a really long time. And I made them one after another. But they’re done.

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So pants scare me. Not nice, wide leg, very little can go wrong pants. No. Not all-forgiving stretch leggings. No. I thought overalls were a nice progression. Not tailored pants, not jeans. Denim with a bit of stretch, no fly or any of that jazz. Should be cool right? Nup.

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It’s not very apparent in the pics (thanks to the colour black), but I have delightful drag lines in the crotch region. Vertical drag lines that some might call…..

CAMEL TOE.

But less cleaving up the middle, more a framing of the sides, if you will.

A bit of googling provided this great resource from Closet Case Files. I heeded the advice, but it made very little difference. When I was trying to figure those pesky lines out, I was pinching out fabric here and there to see how I could get rid of them and I suspect that maybe there’s just too much fabric in that region for me? I’m still not entirely sure. Pants, man. What mysterious creatures.

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I unpicked and adjusted those suckers no less than three times. Have you ever unpicked flat felled seams? It’s not a good time. I did manage to make a bit of a difference, but some of those lines remain. In the end I gave up. So advise me wise sewists, what do you think? How do I get rid of those suckers?

Ooh, I almost forgot:

Turia Dungarees pattern here.

Denim is Telio.

Bib and brace thingies I bought locally from East Coast Fabrics.

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I have made this pattern before, but majorly hacked it into a skirt. Because pants are scary and I’m more of a dress gal.

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A couple of changes I made:

Bias binding to finish the back underarm bits instead of folding stitching. Did that last time too. No raw edges.

Narrowed the legs.

Shortened the legs.

Gave up on the flat felled crotch seam after so many adjustments and just did a mock version. I know, I’m the worst.

Verdict: I don’t know. I want to like them, I really do. Maybe they will grow on me.

 

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Fancy Pants {Megan Nielsen Flint Pants}

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So after making the shorts version of these pants as a practice run to test fit (and realising that I actually loved them), I got around to grabbing some black rayon and making the pants version.

Yes black is a nightmare to photograph and I’m sorry.

This time I made the tie version, using a black and white cotton printed with birds for the pocket lining and tie contrast. There’s also a little button inside the waistband to make everything more secure (which I accidentally sewed a bit close to the edge. Oops).

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In hindsight, the rayon I used might be a bit too light. They are slightly transparent in the light. Also the band tends to fold over on itself when I sit. Still wearable though. These ended up being full length instead of the 3/4 they are supposed to be, because I’m short. I only did a narrow hem to keep them full length.

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There’s not much else to say really! They’ll be great for work – it’s always a bit tough to dress for photography work. You need to be relatively dressy, but still have room to squat and move without flashing anyone. It’s a fine line.

I love them, they fit well, they sew up really quickly and I already have plans for my next pair. I’m thinking the 3/4 length in something quite structured, like sateen. Maybe even wool, if I can find the right one. Totally impractical for our climate, but they’d be awesome anyway.

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Girls Girls Girls {Kwik Sew 3594}

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Or bras, bras, bras for my girls, girls, girls.

Yes, this post is all about bra sewing. Yes it’s a long post. No there aren’t any photos of them on. There’s a nipple situation with all of them and even I can’t go that far. But hey, if you’re keen to read about bra sewing, stick with me.

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I picked up Kwik Sew last time Spotlight were having a sale and I needed that third pattern to grab the 3 for $12 bargain they occasionally do. I thought it looked quite vintagey, wasn’t a fan of that centre seam and there was no mention of wires. Hmmm. Tossed in the stash for another time. I found it again when I was going through my sewing room during The Great Clean Up of 2017. Maybe it was time to give it a go. And since I ended up making three of them, you can probably guess I ended up loving it.

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The first version I made was the velvet green number. Because who doesn’t need a ridiculous velvet green bra, right? Nobody, that’s who. Helpfully, the pattern doesn’t have any measurements to help you choose your pattern size. Nah mate, it tells you to use your normal size. OH MY NORMAL SIZE. COOL.

FYI, while I’m being completely open and honest, my RTW size is somewhere around a 14DD/16D. Maybe. It’s been a long time since I’ve bought a bra. In a Pin Up Girl Classic I’m a 40D, in an Ohhh Lulu Cindy I’m a 38D, in an Orange Lingerie Marlborough I’m a 40DD – you get the idea right? I compared the pattern pieces to my PUG Classic and decided to start with the 40D. And it was actually pretty close. The band fit well, there was just a bit extra in the pointy bit of the cups. It’s quite a bullety shape. Oh and you will notice I made some changes right away – straightened the bridge, removed the centre seam, separated the bridge and band pieces and added wires). I also didn’t follow the instructions at all, just went with the method I learned from Beverly Johnson’s Craftsy class. (Affiliate link).

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Still, old greenie is quite wearable (I have her on today actually). Yeah I made matching knicks, they’re self drafted from the Beverly Johnson underwear class (Affiliate link).

Keen to get this fit right, I made another right away. What can I say, it’s a comfy and simple bra and I love the shape. This time (on the advice of my bra sewing group – yes, it’s a thing), I just flattened out the curve of the lower and upper cup pieces. Worked a treat, fit is spot on – but I did lose the bullet shape.

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The lower cups and bridge are from a scrap of silk dupioni, cut on the bias for the cups. Yes I break all the rules. I’m a dangerous woman.

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I thought I’d be cool with rounding out that bullet shape, but I sort of missed it. So I decided to go for a third round. This time just re cutting the cups as a 40C instead of D. PERFECTION. Bullet shape remained, but no puckering in the cups. YASSSSS.

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And yeah, she turned out more grandma than I expected, but I wanted a neutralish bra that wasn’t nude or white.

It’s probably worth noting that the pattern calls for tricot and non stretch fabric for the cups. I used stretch for everything except the silk cups. You’ll notice that I lined it with bra lining though, which has no give at all. This is particularly important to stop your boobs from flopping about uncontrollably in stretch fabric. Trust me. Just baste the pieces together, it will make your life much easier.

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So freaking happy. With all of them really, but I do love that grey one.

So where the hell do I get bra bits, you ask? Well, let me tell you:

Green Bra:

Stretch velvet – op shop (sorry).

Spotty Mesh on upper cups – Pitt Trading

Power Mesh for back band – Remnant Warehouse

Lining, strapping, elastics, wires, rings and sliders – Booby Traps.

Red Bra:

Tartan silk – garage sale (sorry).

Little red buttons – cannibalised from another bra.

Everything else – Booby Traps

Grey Bra:

Everything – Booby Traps

(Yes Booby Traps is awesome. I find bits and pieces at Remnant Warehouse too. They often have super different fabrics and cool power mesh. Pitt Trading has awesome lace and spandex).

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Shorts Denial {Megan Nielsen Flint Shorts}

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Here’s the thing about shorts. I don’t wear them. At least since I’ve had kids anyway. My thighs are something I’ve always felt compelled to disguise, so shorts have been off the menu. However, when I saw Megan’s Flint pattern for the first time, I knew I had to have it. The shorts didn’t blip on my radar, but those pants, holy hell – I needed those pants on my body STAT.

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So when my pattern arrived yesterday from the lovely Stitch 56, I opened it to have a look and decided that I’d trace it out then and there, but buy some fabric for the pants when I had a chance. Except then I got a bit nervous. I’d not really made pants before (only Megan’s Tania culottes) and even though I rarely make toiles, I figured it was probably a good idea for these – especially since the pants require about 3 metres of fabric and I didn’t want to waste that. So off I toddled to my sewing room and went over my stash, looking for enough fabric suitable for a toile. I remembered I had this big denim off cut picked up from our local op shop last week. Weird for me, since I don’t really sew with denim, but it was cheap and heavy duty and I figured it would come in handy for something. Not enough for pants, but hey – I could make shorts right? This was just for fitting purposes, I don’t actually have to wear them, do I?

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Except yes I do have to wear them because they’re bloody awesome! Waaaaaaahhhhhh! They fit my fat thighs, with room! They have fun pocket lining! They have cute buttons! They wrap in the coolest way! The fit is pretty great too. I don’t need to change anything. Although a bonus of my measurements (42/34/44) is that I fit exactly into a lot of patterns without any changes. In MN patterns I’m an XL.

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(I took my pics in my sewing room because there’s the remnants of a tropical cyclone raging outside. School has been cancelled, husband is supposed to be home from work. It’s quite a day. Sewing room was the only place that had a sliver of light. Sorry that they’re a bit crap. And yeah, I could have waited for pics but I’m wearing them today, sooooo….).

I used a scrap of anchor chambray for the pocket lining, because of course nautical. I even used little silver anchor buttons that I’d been hoarding forever on the waistband. Because nautical. But then, they didn’t look quite right. Maybe a bit toooo yacht club. So I changed them for little bunny and moon fabric covered ones instead. Also from an op shop. Fabric is Luna Sol.

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Which brings the total cost of these shorts to approximately $6.50. That’s without my labor costs, obviously – but let’s conveniently ignore that. Jokes aside, they only took me just over an hour and a half to sew, which isn’t bad.

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So besides going together really well, feeling somewhat high end and generally just being really cool, you know what else I love about Megan’s patterns? (and I know this is a soppy love fest, but I swear I’m not being paid and I paid for my own patterns, I just really like her stuff) – there’s always suggestions in the instructions for tweaks to make them your own. One of the suggestions was to add buttons to the other side of the waistband too. So I did. Now I have cool shorts. Pant to come when I find something suitably swishy and drapey and delightful.

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Skull x Floral Goodness {Vintage Simplicity 5445 Dress}

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You might remember Simplicity 5445 from such sews as Banana Dress… and that’s about it really. I wasn’t sold on that version because I wasn’t feeling the love for the skirt. I think I’m just too used to really full skirts. Plus vintage patterns sort of exaggerate that tiny waist/big skirt ratio, don’t they? So what’s a girl to do? Change it, of course. Because that’s half the beauty of sewing.

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Just before Christmas, those awesome ladies at Cotton and Steel messaged me to ask if I’d like some fabric. I know. I was shocked too. It was the best. They sent me around 3 yards of this floral quilting weight cotton. Now, florals aren’t usually my jam, but I do make exceptions. This one is an exception. The colours are awesome and I like the style of those cute little flowers. Plus it’s called ‘Tuesday Night Ladies Bowling League 1972’. Not even kidding. Best fabric name ever. The little skulls are from their Boo range and I already had them in my stash. I am a big C&S fan.

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You didn’t think I’d make a dress without pockets, did you?

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So. Changes. I cut out the bodice as normal and cut out my regular gathered skirt panels, which are basically big rectangles the width of the fabric. Mind blowing, I know. I added the pocket pieces to the skirt pieces, sewed up  one side seam and left the other open, then gathered as normal. I constructed the bodice as per the pattern instructions, but left the right side seam open. I then attached the bodice to the skirt and added an invisible zip in that right side seam. Now I can get in and out of it very easily.

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The buttons are those self covered, clicky clacky metal ones. I’ve never used them before but they were super easy and I love them. I picked them up at an op shop.

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Welcome to my wardrobe, new friend!

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