Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Little dudes shirt

After some excitement making my first mens shirt I thought I would continue on by doing it in miniature.  Like I said before, there's three dudes in this house, so sewing a shirt is something worth getting efficent at.  I used burda 9792 and I think it turned out so cute.  Or maybe it's just my kid that cute.  I'm a little biased.  For this pattern I learned how to do a different placket to my previous shirt, which I believe is called a continuous lap sleeve placket. A new skill to add to the sewing repertoire.  Another skill I tried for the first time was a flat felled seam.  A little more time consuming, yes, but a lot more shirt-y.  I tried it on the sleeves attached to the shirt and in retrospect, trying it for the first time on a curved seam on a size 2 pattern probably wasn't my smartest moment.  Not a total fail, but average.  One thing I didn't like about this pattern, is that there is no collar stand.  Once upon a time, I would have thought those whole 2 extra pieces of fabric to sew would be a waste of time for a kids shirt, or any shirt actually.  However, shirts with a collar stand are much easier to snap when hanging the laundry on the line, therefore avoiding ironing.  Also, collar stands just look better.  This pattern is self faced but next time I make it up I will try to draft a collar stand pattern.  Can you see the little trains on the buttons?  This shirt is very grown up, so I think novelty buttons makes it more kid friendly.  As you can from the above photos, little dude is discovering the joys of my sewing desk.  Not that he's yet interested in sewing.  More into making complex webs with my threads.  His other favourite toy is my pin cushion.  Each drawer now has a child lock on it.

Pattern: burda 9792 size 2
Fabric: Old, old chambray from mum's stash (even had fade marks on the folds)
Alterations: none

Friday, 17 January 2014

Festive frock

Ok, I'm a bit late with this post about a dress I made in November to wear to my Christmas functions.  This is one of those dresses that you buy the fabric for one day, cut it out that night, sew it the next day and wear it to a Christmas party the next, all while casually ignoring your family.  You do it too, right?  When I went into The Fabric Shop to grab some fabric for the dress the only thing I was thinking was "just not floral".  Fail!  I'm working on the floral addiction...

Pattern: burdastyle 9/2012 #109
Fabric: floral cotton and rayon lining from The Fabric Store
Alterations: shortened the sleeves, took in the side seams under the sleeves, and the sleeves a little

Speaking of sleeves, can someone tell me if it is a feature of a shift dress with sleeves to become extremely short when you raise your arms?  Or have I just not fit the dress correctly?

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Hits, Misses - actually just everything

For others

For me

Oh hi!  Long time, no see!  I guess that's what happens when you return to work as well as decide to sit a fellowship exam.  I've swapped the sewing machine for text books for the mo' but I'm still managing to sneak a little sewing in there.  I have a couple of makes to blog about too.  I wasn't going to do the top 5 thingy because I was sure I didn't even make 10 things this year.  But the collages above suggest otherwise.  Last year didn't feel very productive sewing wise and when I look back at my 'Sewing aims' list for 2013 it seemed a bit ambitious.  Then again, I always think I have more time than I actually do.  So as tempting as it is to create another 'to sew' list for this year, feeling all fresh and that, I am going to refrain.  I do resolve however to start wearing a bloody apron while cooking, to help protect the clothes I spend so much time making.  I've enjoyed reading everyone elses sewing reflections.  Very inspiring.  Happy New Year everyone and Happy Sewing!

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Briar dress

  I read somewhere about play clothes for mums and decided that I should have a playdress.
The hi-lo hemline of the Briar is its most distinguishing feature and obviously I did away with it for this dress.  I quite like the result, probably more than the Briar tops I made.  It was quite easy to convert the pattern to a dress.  There is a very slight flare from the waist and if this line is extended to dress length it creates a slight A line dress.  Simples.
Alterations: hem lengthened to dress length, pocket enlarged and lowered x2
Fabric: poly cotton knit
I would have liked to make this dress in a knit that had a spandex component to make it more stretchy for the yogic style bending, rolling, kicking, nursing, feeding that comes with mothering. I used a twin needle for all the top stitching and I must confess we are not really friends.  I'm more tempted to use a zigzag stitch.  But now that a bit of time has passed and I like the look of the pocket below, perhaps I will give the twin needle thing another chance.
The next time I wore this dress after photographing it, it may have been swiped across the front with a white gloss enamel coated paintbrush which may have been discovered by an unsupervised toddler who may have painted his hair with same gloss enamel.  Oh well play clothes....

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Mastering some XY sewing

My XX chromosomes are out numbered three to one by XY chromosomes in my household, so learning how to sew a tailored mens shirt seemed the logical conclusion.  May I present Vogue V8759, my first mens shirt and probably not the last.  It involved all these scary things like a collar, collar stand, cuffs and sleeve plackets.  But let me assure you, these things are not as scary as they seem.  I go to a sewing class approximately once a fortnight and I thought this was a good project to work on under the watchful eye of a teacher.  I did start this project whilst pregnant and it kind of has taken this long to complete as the smallest XY has been a smidge time consuming.
Biggest XY picked out this pattern (not that there's a huge mens shirt selection) based on the shaping seams down the back.  You can see the seams a little more clearly in the photo below.
I would have preferred to make it in a different fabric, but third-trimester-pregnancy-apathy prevented me from being organised with appropriate fabric for the sewing class, so I had to choose from the stores limited shirt fabric choice.  It's a nice natural colour, but a little thick (medium weight?) and it has a 3% spandex content, not required for the pattern btw.  It did mean that I couldn't try flat felled armscye seams or french side seams as it was just too thick.  I just used a straight stitch and the overlocker.  I would have liked a lighter, cheaper shirting cotton for my first make but perhaps next time.
May I draw your attention to the collar and collar stand.  A first for me and not as hard as I first suspected.  Again the thickness of the cotton prevented the collar stand from being perfect dammit.  But only noticable if you look really close.
I learned to sew sleeve plackets.  Did you read that? I learned to sew sleeve plackets!  I'm a little pround of myself.  Plackets are one of those things I used to stare at wondering how the hell they were made.  And now I know.  Yay for me.  Actually, the sleeve in this pattern has two pieces with the seam forming an opening, a cheats placket if you will.  I did not make it according to the pattern.  My teacher showed me how to sew a placket the real way.  So, I'm afraid I cannot give a proper review for this pattern because I didn't actually follow the pattern.  Like the collar, the plackets were not as hard as I first suspected.  And they deserve another look.
There is something wrong with this picture. Why I shouldn't sew late at nigh.
Other than changing the sleeve plackets, I did not make any other alterations to this shirt.  It appears my husband is a textbook size 36 which is lucky as he was not available at my sewing lesson for fitting.  If you haven't noticed, I'm a little stoked about completing this project (will be more stoked if the shirt is actually worn).  I'm wondering if I could use this mens pattern for a shirt for myself.  Any tips on converting it to womens?

I feel I have to give a shout out to Carolyn, Judith and Bernice for their mens shirt awesomeness that inspired me to give this a go.  Thanks ladies!

Monday, 15 July 2013


Once upon a time, there lived a cloth rabbit called Dude Bunny.  One day he met Princess Bunny.
And togther they bred like .. well .. rabbits.
And so it seems is half of Brisbane because all of these are gifts and they don't even cover all the babies I know who have entered the world this year!  You may remember me moaning about the time it takes to make a teddy bear (see this post) so this cute little bunny is a great alternative as it comes together much more quickly and requires much less stuffing - the part I dislike the most. There is only two pieces for the head/body as opposed to eight in the teddy bear pattern.

A thoughtful friend gave me the 'hop skip jump' pattern book as a birthday gift and this is the 'basil' rabbit pattern.  All the toys in the book have a vintage look about them which when paired with patchwork fabric look really cute.  This pattern is awesome for using up scrap fabric which I used for Dude Bunny.  Having said that I did buy the fabric for the girly bunnies.  50cm of four different fabrics and I cut out 8 bunnies.  Made only 5, but that was enough of a mission.  I reckon I'll use the leftover 3 before the year is out!  I stuffed them with soundproofing picked up for free from a worksite by Dad.  It to be used in a small renovation in our house but we ended up not using it.  My brother suggested using it to stuff teddies because it is actually polyester fibre not too different to the somewhat pricey stuff at the store. How's that for recycling?  I have plans for making up some pillows with it too, as apparently it tears easily along the horizontal plain (a fact I did not discover until after I cut it up in small pieces to stuff all those above bunnies dammit).  
I also purchased a doll making needle which is long enough to go straight through the body to sew the arms on.  I'm not sure how sturdy the stitching is to stand up to rough play but I'm sure I will receive the bunnies back for surgery should they need it.  The legs are stitched into the lower seam on the body.
The instructions in the book are easy to follow - well when I looked at them anyway.  I only really read them for inserting the ears into the dart and how to make a pom pom by wrapping wool around two fingers.  Again, not sure how those tails will last with rough play.  There are quite a few cute patterns I'd like to make from the book, particulary a fox, but my toddler seems completely disinterested in stuffed toys.  I'm not sure if my baby will be the same but judging by the way he stares in awe at his big bro, I'd say there's a fair chance.  Which means I have to make them as gifts.  Note to self: stop making gifts, Rosi, you don't have time.  One mummy on receiving the gift asked if I'd considered a business venture making toys and or clothes (yes, an obvious compliment as opposed to the comment we discussed in a previous post).  Have you had friends suggest the same?  Personally, I think turning a hobby I love into paid employment would ruin the enjoyment.  I'll just keep sewing the stuff I want to sew without obligation - like cute bunnies for cute babies. 

Tuesday, 9 July 2013


Sometimes I find it difficult to buy a pattern that looks really basic.  I find myself drawn to the complicated dresses of say Vogue (like this one).  But a couple of megan neilsens later, I will definitely be purchasing more basics.  I ummed and ahhed about the Briar pattern for a while, but when Megan anounced the Briar sewalong in February, (yeah I know it's July) I was convinced to purchase.  While I haven't worn a midriff since the early '90s (usually a neon surf brand) the hi lo hemline appealed to me because I thought it looked like a good nursing top to layer over other tops.  Actually, I thought the hi hem at the front might look cool over a pregnant belly.  It didn't.

My stash is devoid of any knits, so I was required to purchase fabric for this and I chose a bamboo spandex blend, which feels lovely.  Unfortunately, I was a little slow on the fabric purchasing and couldn't keep up with Megan's sewalong, but it is a quick one to make it was pretty easy to flick through her posts.  I did learn a few tricks from her blog though, particularly the curved little pocket, hemmimg by ironing up first (I never used to do that) and her way of binding the neckband so the stitching is hidden.  Ahh the neckband.  I realised after I overlocked the neckband in that I did it on the wrong bloody side!  Sigh.  I considered just leaving it but as the bound neckline allows wider fabric width it just looked wrong.  So, what could have been a quick make ended up including about 30 minutes or more of unpicking 4 threads of overlocking.  The pain!  But as per usual, it is always worth fixing a mistake you know will annoy you everytime you put it on.
Pattern: Megan Nielsen Briar
Fabric: grey bamboo spandex from SewCo Mt Gravatt.  $39/m ouch.
Alterations: none
Here's a Black Briar made from some merino bought last year from The Fabric Store, Brisbane, which I found after I bought the bamboo doh.  You can obviously see it is the longer version.  This is the kind of pattern you can whip up.  I wish I could say I whipped it up.  But with two little boys around there is not much whipping up of anything.  No, none of the mother hubbard style whipping either.  Maybe whipped cream. 
I'm not sure about the hi-lo hemline on this Black Briar, it looks kind of weird in this photo.  However, I do like the rest of the pattern particularly the neckline.  It's kind of a V but without the pesky dart at the centre front.  Now if you'll excuse me, after saying Black Briar so much I feel like watching some Jason Bourne.