Baby Got Back {Decades Of Style Siren Dress}

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It is highly likely I’ve used that very obvious title before – in fact, I’m sure I have. But in these fast paced, modern times when content is king, I’ve forgotten what I used it for and hopefully you have too. I was going to use ‘Hope It Gives You Hell’, but realised that sounds like I hope you have trouble with this dress too, and that’s untrue.

Let’s celebrate my over explaining with GIFs.

Broken up with another image because I’m not a monster.

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Yeah she does. Except I literally mean my back, not my butt.

Sorry. I’m not sure what’s wrong with me. This dress did give me a hard time, it’s Friday night, I’ve poured a sizable drink….

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Let’s talk. I used Decades of Style’s Siren Dress. Which I’ve had for quite some time but  have shied away from for a couple of reasons:

(a) I knew it would be a bit of a challenge to fit

(b) Am I ok with going bra-less? Eh, not sure.

(c) Will it show my back fat?

What eventually made me give it a red hot go:

(a) That back

(b) My cavalier attitude

(c) That back.

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Truth is, I was a wee bit bored and wanted something new to sew. The internet didn’t provide any super exciting versions of this dress, but I forged ahead anyway. With freaking awesome Alexander Henry fabric (which, I may add, is repping a fair few Australian bird species). A toile would have been a sensible idea, for sure, but since when have I been sensible?

 

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Shall we talk about the bad stuff first? Lets.

  • Neckline gaping – dealing with it for now, it’s not too bad.
  • I had a huge gape that ran from under the arm right around the back. I mean, uuuugggggeeeeee. Ok, that needed a fix. I ended up taking it in a massive 5cms under each arm, tapering down to nothing at the waist.
  • The above fix is now creating some weird bagging at the side seams. Mostly covered with the ties so not such a big thing.
  • Cut the ties upside down, so the birds are running the wrong way down my back. DOH. Could not be arsed cutting them again.
  • TIED THE WHOLE THING UP WRONG FOR THESE PHOTOS. What is wrong with me?! The ties are supposed to wrap around the waist and tie at the back. I did try this but found it was too short for a decent bow. A quick glance at the pattern envelope would have told me a knot was how it was supposed to be tied. I’ll remember that for when I wear it properly, I swear.

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Let’s talk about the good stuff:

  •  I mostly saved it! It’s quite wearable
  • I sewed bra cups into the lining. It ain’t no bra, but it provides a bit of something. And I even managed to get them in the right spots – even after the quite extensive adjustments.
  • I self lined the ties because I didn’t want to see the wrong side of them.
  •  I added my own pockets instead of the solo patch pocket. I’m not a huge fan of patch pockets, mostly because I lose my phone out of them when I get into the car etc.
  • Instead of the two hooks for a closure at the back I used two buttons and a hook and eye because two hooks just felt flimsy. It wouldn’t have felt so flimsy if I’d actually tied it up as intended, but never mind.

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I will make another and I’ll take wedges out all over my pattern pieces to sort out the gaping thing. I’ll probably lengthen the ties a bit too, just so I can tie a bigger bow at the back. I love how wide the ties are! That back though….

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Bra Restock {Orange Lingerie Marlborough Bra}

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There is really very little reason to blog these bras. I’ve made them and talked about them many, many times before. The Marlborough pattern is my favourite. It fit me almost straight out of the envelope (or off the PDF) and gives me the most lift and projection than any other bra I’ve ever worn. Including RTW.

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I automatically sift through my drawer for the Marlboroughs before anything else. It feels kind of like cheating to make the same pattern over and over, but hey – I love them, so why not?

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Actually the nude coloured one was sewn out of necessity. I have so many black and bright prints, but was seriously lacking anything to wear under semi sheer clothes. I found the peachy coloured lace in Spotlight and the matte spandex was from The Remnant Warehouse.

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The other two were sewn because I like sewing in threes.

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Matching knickers, because of course. All my supplies are from all over the place, so if you want to know something specific, just ask. As always, pretty much all of it comes from The Remnant Warehouse, Pitt Trading and Booby Traps.

webDSC_2740 You know what though? I still learn little tips and tricks every time I sew. This time I learned that you can put two wires in one casing. I know. Why? I bought some wires on sale and when they arrived, they were a bit flimsy for me. But I bought a pile of them because they were such a bargain. So two in each cup for extra support.

webDSC_2776 Look at those enclosed seams. They fill me with a ridiculous amount of satisfaction. All of my bras are lined with sheer cup lining. It’s light, but strong.

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I can’t decide which one is my new favourite child. That peacock lace or the printed silk gifted to me by a friend. The nude one is nanna-functional, but the other two are a bit more special.

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Welcome to the lingerie drawer, new friends….

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Not Sewing, Knitting {Skully Sweater and Berocco Lawrence}

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I’ve never been much of a resolution maker. I don’t carefully plan my sewing with make nines or even queues. I figure I have enough planning in my life, I like to be a bit more free with sewing. That said, I did have two goals in mind for 2018: finally make jeans (have, still in progress with fitting) and learn how to knit. Both came about from a bigger resolution – no buying things you can make yourself. Which sort of snowballed from the fact that I now sew all my swimmers and underwear, as well as the majority of my clothes and the fact that I really can’t get the same fit/prints/pockets/satisfaction from RTW.

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I had lofty goals of knitting myself cute little cropped cardies and jumpers to go with my dresses and skirts. Yesssss. This would be a thing! Sew by day, knit by night. I asked the good folk of Instagram how the learned to knit. Grandma’s Youtube and Google were suggested (easily done!), along with the book Stitch N Bitch (purchased!) and quite a few people recommended being taught in person. Hmmm. I’d mostly learned to sew from the internet, so I assumed knitting would be similar. WRONG. Well, for me anyway. You might be clever enough to be taught to knit by the internet, but it felt pretty much impossible for me.

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So where to next? A few people suggested asking in the local yarn shop. LOL. We don’t even have a sewing shop anymore, friends! We do have a local arts and crafts organisation, as it turns out, so I shot an email off to those helpful ladies and what do you know? They sent me the phone number of a lovely lady named Sylvia and she told me about her weekly knitting group and how she’d be delighted to teach me. What a legend! They’re all legends actually. Patience of saints too because I absolutely sucked at it in the beginning. Learning new things is hard! Starting at the beginning again is hard! Having sausages for fingers is hard! But by the end of that first session, I had a vague idea of knit stitch. I practiced, consulted Grandma Youtube and by the following week I could purl too. YES. LET’S MAKE THINGS.

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When I first flicked through my Stitch N Bitch book, this skully jumper caught my idea. I was in love. I had to make it. So that’s where I started. It was marked as a beginner pattern, so it had my name all over it. I made the front and back by knitting a bit each night in front of the tv. Anything I wasn’t sure about was cleared up by the knitting ladies. But weeks of knitting the same black yarn got old and I’d been shopping and found some really nice Mondial Alpaca on sale. It felt amazing and I really wanted to use it, so I searched and found this relatively simple looking, free Berroco pattern. I made it in the biggest size and hoped that it would fit one of the boys. Ed was the winner of that one.

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Hard stuff – picking up stitches for the sleeves (I ended up making them separate and sewing them on) and picking up stitches for the neckband (there’s holes). Then after binding off the neckband I discovered it wouldn’t go over his head, so it had to be pulled out and started again. That’s when I learned about stretchy bind offs.

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Hot damn, it’s been a learning curve. I finished the Lawrence jumper and then it was time to head back to the black beauty. Just in time for the neckband. Woe. This one is better than my first though. Before doing the sleeves, I consulted the knitting ladies. They told me that knitting big intarsia sleeves on an already big jumper was going to be quite a bulky, heavy task. And because I really didn’t want to attempt picking up the stitches on the arm hole again, they told me to knit them separate. So I did. I was so glad I did because the whole intarsia thing was a bit of a nightmare and I redid the first sleeve 3 times in total. Once again though, I learned a lot. They are still a bit rough, but I got there.

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The sleeves are actually way too long for me, but I’ve rolled them up. I’ll be damned if I don’t wear this jumper! It was a labour of love and I’m a little bit thrilled that I did it, if I’m honest. For a while there it felt like I wouldn’t finish it. I don’t love how there’s no shaping in the sleeves and I would prefer ribbing at the band and the wrists instead of garter stitch, but I’ll worry about all that next time. My brain is full from how much I’ve learned lately.

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Now, what next?

Slowing Down In Style {Closet Case Patterns Carolyn Pjs}

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Up until a couple of years ago, I always thought that sewing pjs was such a waste of fabric (and time!). If you sew, you’ll know that people often assume that sewing your own clothes is cheaper than buying it, but in our current age of fast fashion – it’s really not. I mean, some things are, sort of. It’s cheaper for me to sew a bra than by a $60 one, but it’s not cheaper than buying a $20 one (I hope that makes sense).

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There are all the obvious benefits too, of course – a custom fit, rad fabric and the ability to add pockets to just about anything. But there’s a big divide between store bought pjs and the cost of making your own. The ones above require between 4 and 5 metres of fabric, depending on the width and if you consider a rough price of $15/m, that’s $60-$75 for pjs. A big leap from the inexpensive ones you can buy in shops. That’s without the 5-6 hours or so it takes to actually make the suckers!

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So what changed my mind? The average human spends about a third of their life asleep. I am a keen pj wearer, often having a shower and getting into them by about 5pm most afternoons – earlier in winter. I spend a lot of time in pajamas and so it makes sense that I would wear beautifully handmade ones. Plus, it really brings down the cost per wear situation.

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It’s currently school holidays and my second favourite part is the slowness of our mornings (my absolute favourite part is no homework). Sometimes we will hang out in our pjs until midday. It is such a nice change to the rush to get out the door on school mornings. What better time to shout myself a couple of new pairs? Less of a shock for the poor postie when he delivers my parcels too.

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I found the fabric for my first pair on the Spotlight clearance table. As an added bonus, they also had 40% off all fabric, so this mid weight stretch satin was quite the bargain. Being 150cms wide meant I didn’t need to buy as much either. Check out that print placement though – almost like a border print, but the print runs through the centre of the fabric instead.

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I used my beloved Closet Case Carolyn pattern, which is another expense when you think about it, but I have used it many times now – not only for me but for sewing gifts for other people too. It’s such a beautiful pattern and definitely worth it. I decided to skip the piping and let the print do the talking this time, but I did cover some buttons in some scrap satin in another print.

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I got a bit creative with the print placement and made the shirt a bit business in the front…

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And party in the back. I love these so much. The fabric is soft and slinky, and the little bit of stretch makes them very comfortable. I was on a roll, so immediately cut out another pair from this koala flannelette I’d bought a while back. Makes sense to have a fancy pair and a cosy pair, right?

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Unfortunately though, I’d skimped out and only bought 4m so had to dig through my scrap stash for cuffs and pockets. Damn you, past Katie!

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The whole mis-matched thing has grown on me though, so I’ll definitely be wearing these cosy babies once the weather decides it’s winter again. For now though, the slinky satin pair are perfect for our warmer nights.

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Tony Tiger approves. Kenny Koala remains indifferent.

 

 

Sewing For Samoa {Sew House Seven Tea House Dress}

webDSC_6875It occurred to me recently as I was lovingly admiring this dress in my cupboard, that I had actually never blogged it. It’s a really special dress for me and holds a little memory in every one of those sequins, I think.

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Created from one of my favourite patterns in the world, Sew House Seven’s Tea House Dress and sewn in a luxurious sequined silk chiffon from the Remnant Warehouse for my husband’s brother’s wedding in Samoa last November.

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Samoa in November (and really most of the year) is hot and humid. As Queenslanders, we are used to a bit of heat and humidity, but this is next level stuff. I knew I wanted a dress from a natural fibre, with beautiful drape and fabric that just offered something a tiny bit extra. Enter The Remnant Warehouse. They stock a huge variety of designer remnants so it’s the place I stalk online when I want something extra special.

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I cut my pieces very carefully and following some info I’d read online, started painstakingly removing sequins from the seam allowances. THIS. WAS. THE. WORST. It would have taken a year of unpicking in front of the tv each night. Further research online showed a few rebels that just sewed over the suckers. I held my breath and gave that a go and… nothing. Totally fine. No causalities (eyes or needles). These sequins were quite small and soft, as well as not too close together, so sewing over them was completely fine. Phew. Life saver. The cut ones are scratchy though, so I did french seams wherever possible and trimmed any rogue sequins out of the way.

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I stitched the hem of the dress and sleeves by hand because I didn’t want any stitching showing from the outside. It was totally worth taking the extra time and care. I did the same with the front and back facing pieces, after removing all the sequins from those so they weren’t rubbing against my skin. After initially thinking all those sequins were individually knotted, with trial and error I found the magic unraveling thread in each bunch. It was heaps of fun to pull it and watch gold sparkles fly around my lounge room (side note: what they say is true, 8 months on I’m still vacuuming those buggers up).

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I didn’t want to line the dress so I made a slip out of cream silk voile which worked really well. The sequins make the dress heavy though and you can see it’s a fair bit longer than my others in the sleeves and the actual length. I don’t mind at all though.

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I photographed the wedding, so it was important I was comfortable and could move around easily – hence the sandals too. But let’s be clear – if you ever see me wearing heels, chase me down and tackle me because I can guarantee it’s an imposter. I never put myself through that kind of torture.

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One of my husband’s lovely cousins grabbed the camera off me a few times through the day to make sure I was photographed too. It was very sweet and I’m so grateful to have these images. Note to self: phone does not belong in the pocket of this dress!

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In other news, my sister in law (to be, at that stage) asked if I’d make her a dress to wear to her reception. She pretty much had the same pre requisites as me, but wanted a sleeveless dress and something with a lot of skirt.

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She came over and we sat together in my sewing room, digging through my patterns. We settled on Simplicity 8013, which is a reissue of a 70s faux wrap dress. There is a massive 8 metres of rayon in this dress, it’s a huge fabric hog. The skirt is made up of big panels all gathered together and it’s so delightfully swishy and full. I fully lined the bodice to eliminate the facings and provide a bit more coverage because the fabric is so light.

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It was very nerve wracking sewing for someone else, especially someone with a body shape so different to mine, but it all worked out ok in the end. She looked so beautiful moving around the reception.

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PS I made the flower girl dresses too.

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And if you’ve made it this far, well done. Here’s a gratuitous selection of images from our stay. Yes, I made the boys’ shirts too. Ok, enough words.

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We Are Helping, We’re Helping Hands {MBJM Hot Coffee Top in Spoonflower Fleece}

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Recently, the lovely Allie from Spoonflower got in contact to ask if I’d like to take part in another blog hop featuring Australian makers – they kindly provided the fabric of my choice but my words and opinions are my own (as always). They’ve also provided 10% off their fabrics with the code katie10 (valid for a month).

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Since winter is on its way, I chose this awesome print by Amy Blackwell on Spoonflower’s fleece and used the MBJM Hot Coffee pattern. Even though I’ve blogged makes from this pattern before, this version was my very first jumper from it.

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Let me tell you a bit about winter where I live. It’s mild. Google tells me the average winter temperature is 22 degrees celsius (that’s 71.6 F). It’s a nice winter, some people even swim all year round because the water is still quite warm (Google also tells me the average is 21.4C/70.5F, so pretty much on par with the air temperature). So the southern states do smirk when we complain about the cold. Let me tell you something else though, our houses are built to keep the heat out. We have homes equipped for summer, but not really for winter. For that reason, it can be a balmy 22C outside and a chilly 15C inside the house. I have been known to go outside and lay on the lawn in the sun, trying to warm up like some kind of pale, blonde reptile.

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There is a point and I’m getting to it. On the days when I’m stuck inside, either at the sewing machine or computer or maybe even just on a Netflix binge, I like to wear an oversized, cosy hoodie to keep me warm. In the past, I’ve pinched my husband’s hoodies, but sometimes he needs them, so it’s nice to have my own.

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I was excited to get my cool handsy printed fleece and sew it up into a big snuggly hoodie. When the fleece arrived, I was a bit surprised. I’m not sure what I was expecting – maybe something like what we get here called polar fleece – but it was definitely different to that. It was quite dense, almost like a felt and it really had very minimal stretch. I figured I’d wash it, tumble dry it and then reassess. Turns out the washing and drying process fluffed it up quite a bit and it came out softer than it had gone in. It was still very different to what we call ‘fleece’ here, but it didn’t feel bad – just different.

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My measurements put me in an XL for this pattern, but I erred on the side of caution and made a 3XL to account for the minimal stretch (the pattern asks for 50% stretch) and because I wanted it to be quite big. I don’t usually like ribbing on the bottom of my jumpers, so I left that off and lengthened the pattern slightly to compensate. The kanga pouch sits on the bottom of the jumper between the main fabric and the ribbing, so I had to change my construction process slightly too, but it worked out fine.

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I wasn’t keen on the ribbing I had for the cuffs, so went a bit fancy and used stretch velvet instead. It’s not as stretchy as ribbing, so I did cut them a bit longer. I also needed to take about 2 inches off the sleeve length. The inside of the hood can be self lined or you can use a contrast. I used the wrong side of a grey printed fleece scrap I’ve had  in my stash for ages.

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Most of it was constructed on my overlocker and I used my new bestie, lightning bolt stitch for the hems and pocket. It is quite a quick sew (I think about an hour from cutting to finishing) and the fleece was really nice to use too – it didn’t slip or slide or stretch out of shape like polar fleece can.

Awesome prints in sweater knits are really hard to find (especially here), so it’s great to have the custom print option in fleece. I know this one will get a lot of wear, so I’m already planning another. Bring on winter.

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Phoning Home {Joan Dress}

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There really isn’t much of a reason to blog this, other than for documentation purposes because it’s such rare and amazing fabric.

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Recently my lovely friend Phoebe (Flaxen Vintage) messaged me to let me know she’d found ET sheets still in their original packaging and asked if I wanted her to grab them for me. Whoever had them obviously knew their value because they weren’t cheap, but c’mon, how could I pass up this opportunity? I answered in the affirmative in under 0.07 of a second.

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Upon further contemplation, the price wasn’t too bad when you consider:

  • they were brand new in their 1982 packaging
  • 100% cotton
  • 60″ wide and however long a single sheet is
  • two flat sheets (no fitted)

In fact, it’s probably on par or better than what I pay for designer quilting cotton. Ok, slight shoppers guilt averted.

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Jks. I didn’t feel guilty at all.

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Since my Joan pattern is my current favourite dress pattern (it’s comfortable, it fits well, it has sleeves and a neckline that I love and it’s something I’m damn proud of), I knew that’s what I wanted these rad sheets to be turned into. But I wanted to take it a bit next level, maybe mezzanine, I don’t know. So I drafted a Peter Pan collar. To be honest, I wasn’t sure it would even look right with a boat neck, but it’s grown on me.

Full disclosure: I drafted matching navy sleeve cuffs too but felt they were too much so left them off. Maybe another time.

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And this is what might make this post vaguely useful to you, although there’s about a million collar drafting tutorials out there anyway. To draft the collar pieces, I taped the front and back bodice pieces at the shoulder, then taped it to much kitchen bench (to stop it moving) and traced the curve of the neckline. I made sure the front of the collar ended at the centre front and finished about 3cms before the centre back, leaving space for the zipper plus a bit extra. I just free handed the curve, but if I could find my french ruler I would have used that. Or you could maybe use a dinner plate or similar. I decided to make the back collar end at a point, just because. Then I added seam allowances (everywhere but the top) and hey presto – a collar!

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You’ll need to cut four collar pieces from your fabric and two of interfacing. Sew the collar pieces together precisely and carefully, trimming your seam allowances and clipping your curves so that every sits as nicely as it can. Use a chopstick to push out your corners so they’re nice and sharp. Then baste your collar pieces to your neckline (your centre front pieces will overlap slightly here but they need to) before sewing your facing (or lining) over the top. Flip your facing up and check that the centre front collar pieces meet, fix them if they need it. Clip and trim those new seam allowances carefully and understitch them to the facing pieces. When I first started sewing, I hated understitching and would ignore it because it seemed so pointless, but now I do it all the time – it makes such a difference! Do it. Then give everything a good press. This collar sits so nice and flat and I know it’s because I put in the extra effort to make it happen.

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I cut the front and back bodice pieces pretty carefully so I could get the most out of the large print. The front waist darts are hidden quite well in the tree trunks of the print and I managed to avoid full moon boob, so that’s a bonus. I aslo wanted a really full skirt on this one, so used the full width of the fabric front and back. That’s 120″ of fabric on my 32″ waist. For the first time ever I used three rows of gathering stitch and it was so worth it. I might even do that for all my gathered skirts from now on, it made such nice even gathers.

I feel so lucky to have scored this amazing fabric. It’s one of my favourite things ever.

 

 

 

 

Knocking Off Ready To Wear Again {Patterns For Pirates Peg Legs}

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I apologise in advance, because this is one of the most boring blog posts you’ll ever get from me. It’s about black leggings. I’m not really selling it, am I?

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(From left to right: Cotton On leggings, Clio plush leggings, cheapy ebay Pegs made by me and wool blend Pegs made by me).

I read something recently where someone described sewing basics as ‘less icing, more cake’. That really resonated. When I started, all I wanted to sew were all the pretty dresses (and I still do), but there’s a lot to be said for owning damn comfortable basics.

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Winter in my part of the world is pretty mild, so I can get away with wearing dresses and skirts as long as I wear tights, boots and a cardi. Fleece lined leggings are my favourites and get a lot of wear (look at that pair second from the left!). I’ve noticed them start appearing in shops in the form of active wear too and what can I say? It’s love. And since my resolution this year was to avoid buying things I can sew, I went on a mission to find fleece back spandex. Which means I asked a sewing FB group. And they delivered.

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(Spenno wool blend).

The first recommended was an insanely cheap ($5/m!) nylon blend from ebay. I must admit, I had my doubts. When it arrived, it looked much the same as the fabric the Clio leggings are made from. Plush back with a definite nylon looking outer, with a bit of a sheen. Not bad though, especially for the price. I was pleasantly surprised.

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(Cheapy fabric).

I figured this pair would be worn mostly under dresses and skirts, so I used the plain Peg Legs pattern with the low rise waist and contour waistband. They are comfy as hell, but that’s exactly what I expected, I love the Pegs pattern. These poop all over the RTW versions I own.

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(And cheapy fabric).

High waisted, forever ❤

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(Spenno wool blend).

The second fabric recommended was a pricier wool blend for $40/m from Homecraft Textiles in WA. It wasn’t on their website, so I emailed and arranged to purchase. They were very helpful. When it arrived, I was underwhelmed. The outside has a slight rib through it and the fleece is more of a reddy brown than black (not that it matters to me at all), but other than that, it looks and feels a lot like the ebay fabric. I thought it would have more of a matte outer. I guess time will tell with how they wash and wear. This fabric got sewn into a pair of Pegs with the add ons – side panel and pockets, with the same old low rise waist and contour waistband, because we already know how I feel about that combo. I figured this pair could be more for dog walking on chilly mornings. Or just hanging at home doing nothing, whatever.

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Same high waist that does not require constant pulling up.

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And there ends the boring black leggings chatter. I also made my t shirt. It was a bit of a Jalie men’s t shirt hack experiment out of lightweight cotton jersey. A bit too lightweight judging my my hems. But again, comfort is king.

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Hibernation Preparation {Ohhh Lulu Romy Bra}

Pattern:

Ohhh Lulu Romy Bra.

Fabric and other stuff:

Floral spandex from The Remnant Warehouse a really long time ago, sorry.

Muppet Babies and Astro Boy swim knit from Rubyjam Fabric.

Scale print spandex from fabric.com.

Mesh (red and pink) from The Remnant Warehouse.

Stretch lace and hot pink picot elastic from Pitt Trading.

Strapping, rings, sliders and bows from Booby Traps.

 

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There is a definite chill in the air. Our days are still warm but right around school pick up, the temperature starts to drop and by the time I get home, I’m ready for a warm shower and some slouchy clothes.

(Please excuse the lines all over my belly. The horizontal ones, not the vertical ones. The former are from wearing tights all morning, the latter are permanent and from carrying my children).

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Clothes that aren’t pjs, just in case the neighbourhood kids decide to pop over, but you know – I’m done for the day by then and am ready for all the comfort. And that comfort extends to underwear too.

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The Romy Bra by Ohhh Lulu is something that I have made a lot before, but I just can’t go past it. For a bralette, it has a great shape (thank you princess seams!) and while not on par with a wired bra for lift (for me anyway), it provides enough that I feel well supported.

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My earlier versions were looking a bit tired so I decided to use up some of my scraps to make some more. One of the wonderful things about underwear sewing is that you do only need minimal amounts of fabric, even if you are a fan of giant knickers like me. Knickers, by the way, are the same old self drafted pair I make all the time, just with variations on height and elastic. All have scrap jersey for the gusset.

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One of my favourite things about this pattern is the enclosed seams. Swoooooooon. There’s something so polished about it. I tend to line mine in mesh for additional support, although if you’re smaller busted you might not find it necessary or could use something lighter weight like cotton lycra. Whatever you use though, it needs to have stretch. As a rule, wired bras need non or minimal stretch fabrics and bralettes need stretch.

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As always, I’ve eliminated the back clasp, shortened the back band and cut it on the fold. It does mean I have to pull it on and off over my head, but that’s no biggy. It’s very comfortable without the clasp and makes it a quicker sew. I also move the straps more towards the centre back as I find them too wide set for me.

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The pattern includes a three piece cup (front, side front and upper cup). The upper cup can be from the same fabric as the rest of the pieces, or from something contrasting like lace or mesh. In fact, you could Frankenstein the entire thing out of different scrap pieces if you really wanted to. For the mermaid scale version I’ve used all the same fabric, same for the floral but I finished the upper cup in stretch lace, the Astro Boy one has a mesh upper cup and for the Muppet Baby version, I experimented and left the upper cup off all together and just finished the front cup in stretch lace. That’s why it sits a lot lower. It’s not as supportive but still very wearable and probably suited to someone with a smaller bust (for reference I’m roughly a 38D).

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I think I’m all set for underwear for a while now. The problem is they are just so fun and quick to make. There is a gap in my underwear drawer for a very basic nude set though. I have all these fun prints and black, but nothing to wear under lighter dresses. So that’s next on my list.

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Sweater Weather {Made By Jacks Mum Hot Coffee Top}

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Pattern: MBJM Hot Coffee Top

Fabric: Mostly from Spotlight, although it doesn’t seem to be on their website.

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Except we say jumper, not sweater. Although more accurately, these would be hoodies. And I know this is mostly kid sewing, so sorry. Here’s the thing though, finding patterns for older boys is hard. Much like shopping for clothes for them. Seriously, look at the boys sizes 10-16 in a shop some time, they have about three racks worth and the girls equivalent is at least triple that.

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Luckily, these two still want me to sew for them. And when I saw this french terry in Spotlight, I couldn’t resist it. It ticked all the boxes – print not too young, suitably modern and really lovely quality. The right side is almost like a heavy cotton lycra, with a lovely soft brushed fleece underside. The grey ribbing is also from Spotlight, the grey fleece is the wrong side of another sweater knit off cut and the olive and white striped fabric is cotton lycra picked up from The Remnant Warehouse.

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As for the pattern itself, there is an adult version (used here) and a kids version (Hot Chocolate). I bought the adult sized one for myself and was pretty happy to see the boys would fit into the XXS from the adult version, which is about a size 12 in the kids. I even broke my ‘no PDFs if there’s no A0’ rule and bought it. The sticky tape fest wasn’t too harrowing for this one.

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The pattern has the option of a hood, a round neck or a cowl neck and can be made with or without the kanga pocket. I chose to leave the bottom band off these as I don’t love the look. Both boys could do with a little bit more length to combat that next time.

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I even made a basic round neck version for myself, which happens to be my second version but the first is a special collaboration and is under wraps for a while yet.

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My measurements put me into the XL, but I sized up to the 3XL because I wanted something quite oversized and the fleece didn’t have as much stretch as the pattern asked for. The ribbing however, had too much stretch. I ended up cutting off the cuffs and making them smaller. I really should have done it for the neckline too but I didn’t have quite enough ribbing left. It’s still very wearable and one of the softest jumpers I own.

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Sorry for the photo overload, it was just such a magic afternoon down at the beach. I should really shoot down there more often.

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