Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Roisin Dress

I have two weeks off work over Christmas and New Years, and I plan on spending as much of that time as possible sewing. This dress is the first (successful) outcome of that plan; I cut it out and stitched most of it together on Monday, and hemmed it and finished some hand stitching yesterday, in time to wear for Christmas.

The fabric is very special; it is a piece of stretch sateen that I went halvies on with Roisin (AKA Dolly Clackett) when in London earlier in the year. You see, we spied this fabric but the shop was bizarrely only selling it in 5m pieces, and 5m is an awful lot of fabric, even when it is as lovely as this. HOWEVER, 2.5m is a pretty perfect amount of fabric, and so Roisin and I shared the piece.

She already made an absolutely gorgeous gorgeous dress out of her fabric aaaaaages ago. Seriously, click on that link and check out her dress; stunning! I'm glad I didn't remind myself of what hers looked like before I made mine as I would have been intimidated as to how sophisticated and gorgeous her dress is and not wanted to make my own as it pales in comparison!

The pattern is another belladone, this time not reflective and as such has slightly less binding on it than the reflective version; just around the back cut-out, the neckline and arm holes. The binding however is really lovely, it's a pre-made satin binding that looks just lovely with the sateen. I did the binding nice and narrow too, so that it mirrors the width of the outlines of the flowers in the print.

I made no other alterations from my previous version, but have identified an alteration I will make to the skirt next time I use the pattern, as I get some minor drag lines over my bum as it is, but I think I know how to fix that so watch this space.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Reflective Belladone, aka the Tron dress

I have so many amazing things to say about this newest make that I don't know where to start...

The pattern is the fabulous Belladone by Deer and Doe. I have been eyeing off this pattern for a while, and now I've dipped my toe in the Belladone waters I anticipate there being lots more of this pattern in my future (sorry, not sorry!)

To sidetrack fitting issues I did what I normally do with new patterns for dresses with fitted bodices; I used my bodice block to make adjustments to the fit so it fits me. I used the darts and overall proportions from my block, and used the arm holes and neckline of the Belladone pattern.

Well that was the intent but somehow I messed up the front neckline and have ended up with more of a boat-neck neckline. Nevermind. The back is exactly as drafted and is FABULOUS.

I then used the waistband piece that matched up with the waist measurement of the resulting bodice piece, and used the skirt as drafted. Heads up though, this skirt length is the length as drafted, and since I bound the hem with bias tape it didn't loose any length from hemming, and it's a good length on me, but please note that I am 5'4" (which puts me firmly in the 'average' camp, despite some people calling me short).

The only other alteration I did was make the pockets bigger, as small pockets suck almost as much as no pockets, and I figured I could always make them smaller if I find they're too big.

And now, moving on from the pattern to the elephant in the room that is the FANTABULOUS binding on this dress. Incase you hadn't realised from the pictures; IT'S REFLECTIVE!!!!!!! (see the difference with and without the flash above and below)

Yup, this dress does border on novelty, but is going to be the most fantastic summer cycling dress in the world; I challenge any idiot Melbourne drivers to not see me!!

(PS: Expect my face in the below right picture to be what I will look like most of the time when wearing this dress, just a heads up)


I discovered a little while ago that I could buy reflective bias binding, and I have been scheming up this dress ever since. I even managed to recruit others into the scheme! (photographic evidence of the fact that I have friends so awesome they are also making their own reflective dresses to follow in another post)

I added bias trim everywhere I could think to, including the waistband, pocket edges and hem. All in the sake of being visible you see... honest... The skirt is fuller than I anticipated, and the bias trim on the hem has given the skirt a kind of Jetsons like feel to it...

So in conclusion: Novelty? Probably. Amazeballs? Definitely!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Finished Knit - Parcel Jumper

Look you guys! I have something finished to share! I bet you thought I hadn't done anything in aaaaages! Well a few interstate flights and some lazy evenings on the couch mean that I've FINALLY finished knitting my Parcel jumper.

I started this one in February (as mentioned in this earlier post about the jumper back in June), but it got put on hold while I was away on holiday in July as I worked on my green Miette then instead, and when I got back I decided to finish that off first.

As I mentioned in the June post about this jumper, the yarn is Merino Gold, which is truly gorgeous both to work with and to wear, so delightfully soft! I'm also massively in love with the teal colour that I chose to use.

The pattern is "Parcel" by Carol Feller, and I picked it because I fell completely in love with the asymmetrical cables. Also my geeky side loves that the cables look like DNA, teeheehee.

Another interesting feature of this pattern is the ribbing; rather than a straight ribbing it's a 'mistake' rib, which took me a little while to get the hang of, but once I 'got' it I discovered that I really liked the look of it.

I made some minor alterations to the pattern to give it more of a nipped in waist, and make sure I had the right size in the bust and hips. These changes were done in the increases/decreases up the sides.

I also spent quite a while working out the length and where to put the decreases/increases to make the jumper just the right length. I didn't want it to be a cropped jumper but also didn't want it to be so long it looked weird worn with things with a waist seam. I compared the lengths of a few of the jumpers I already own to work out what my optimal length would be, and I think I've managed to get it pretty much spot on.

The pattern was fantastic though, the cable chart easy to follow, and the finished jumper is amazing. Sadly I think this pattern is a little too distinctive to make again. But I fully intend on wearing this version to death!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Social Sewing - November

Apologies for not posting a reminder for October's Social Sewing, thing have been pretty hectic as late in Chez-Rachel.

But looking forward, November's Social Sewing is less than a week away, this coming Saturday the 16th of November. I hope to see you there!

Also, remember the dates for the rest of 2013 and for all of 2014 are all listed here:
(I believe we might be having a Christmas Party after the December one, so make sure to mark that down in your diaries!)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Quietly busy...

While things have been a bit quiet around here lately, it's because things have been busy elsewhere in my life. But that doesn't mean I haven't been working on things. In particular I have been slowly working on a long forgotten work in progress, a quilt that has been sat on the back of my couch for about 2 years waiting for the last third or so if hand quilting to be finished.

I'm getting close to finishing now, and will hopefully soon be able to go and pick out some binding...

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Miette Number Two

Since finishing my first Miette Cardigan a little under a year ago it has been in heavy rotation in my wardrobe. It was an incredibly successful knit and very quickly I knew that I wanted to make another version of the pattern. Thank you to everybody that chipped in with an opinion of which colour yarn to use when I asked, I ended up choosing the "Flourite" colour.

Most of the cardigan was knit while I was on my holiday in Europe. I cast on while we were waiting to leave Melbourne Airport, and had got quite a lot done before we even got on the plane due to a 4 hour delay. I was impressed how much I was getting done and started worrying that I hadn't packed enough yarn in my carry on bag, only to find that my stopping factor was that I had packed my extra cables in my checked luggage, so when I got to the point where you have to split for the armholes I was forced to stop.

I made some alterations to the pattern, based on my last version. The first alteration was to start the bust decreases about an inch lower than the pattern states, so that the 'dart' starts just below my bust, rather than higher up (similar to the principle you would have with darts on a sewn garment).

I also lengthened the cardigan by one pattern repeat This was so that it would finish slightly below the waist rather than right on it, allowing me to wear the cardigan with skirts that sit on the waist without getting a gap between the top of the skirt and the bottom of the cardigan.

However, as this would mean that the ribbing would sit below my waist, and as the ribbing was quite tight on my first version, I added some increases in at the side to bring the lacework around the bottom of the cardigan and the ribbing up to the next size in the pattern so that it wouldn't ride up or be too tight. These increases aren't ideal as they actually start slightly above my waist, but that was necessary to get them in before the lace and ribbing started, as I didn't know how to do the increases once I got to that point.

The last change that I made to the pattern was to lengthen the sleeves to be full length rather than 3/4, as I thought that this change would make the cardigan more wearable as it would be that little bit warmer. To do this I just kept knitting, and trying it on intermittantly kept decreasing the sleeve as I thought I needed it, making sure that I ended up with a number of stitches that worked with the lace repeat.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again; this pattern is really well written and it yields a fantastic cardigan! I really want to knit some more of Andi's patterns, the problem comes with choosing one! Have you seen her newest pattern, the Hetty, it's just as gorgeous as all the rest, making the decision even harder.

Anyway, now I have stopped cheating on my Parcel Sweater with this Miette, I need to get that finished too! So much for getting it finished before winter is over. I don't think I'm cut out for having more than one knit on the go at a time... but then I think I used to say that about sewing too...

Monday, September 16, 2013

Thurlow Shorts Revisited

I am pleased to inform you that I have managed to use one of the pieces of fabric that came home with me from London, a scrap of lovely suiting type fabric that I picked up in the swap. I don't know who donated it to the swap, but whoever you are - thank you! I love it!! (Please own up if it was you!)


As soon as I saw this fabric (which was a little less than a metre, plus a bit due to the cutting done by the previous owner) I knew that it just needed to become a pair of thurlow shorts. And I was incredibly happy when I managed to fit all the pattern pieces onto the fabric with very little difficulty:

I didn't make any further alterations to the pattern, as per the pair I made for the pattern testing these are a straight size 10, with a 6cm increase in length to make the cuffed version the same length as the uncuffed version. I had marked on how far in I'd taken the centre back seam last time, so I just cut that out ready to go as I knew the other pair are spot on in fit (which saved a little fabric). The only difference between this pair and my first pair is the addition of the back pocket facing that is in the final pattern but wasn't in the pattern testing version (the only tissue piece in the above picture!).

I managed to find some solid brown fabric in my stash to use for the pockets and facings that matches the dark brown fibres in the weave of the fabric, I had a button and slide in my stash to use, and cut down a larger zip to size, so that I could make the whole thing from the stash, which was good!

Another quick thing, the t-shirt that I'm wearing in these photos is one of the many t-shirts I've made and haven't blogged. This particular one is made from some absolutely lovely merino jersey that I got at The Fabric Store. I love my merino t-shirts so much, they're great in cold weather, great in warm weather, and they get less smelly. Win, win, win really.

(PS: Thanks to Mel for snapping these photos for me)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Social Sewing - Reminder for September and dates for 2014

Just a quick reminder that our next social sewing is this coming Saturday, the 21st of September. If you're in the area and don't have other plans then you should come along, it's lots of fun! I believe this month has a somewhat unofficial theme of 'swimwear', as a few of us are going to dive in to bathers sewing and give each other some moral support. Of course, you don't have to sew bathers to come along, as always bring whatever you want to work on.

We have sorted out our dates for 2014, so make sure to visit the social sewing page and mark down the dates in your diary:
Or, if you use Google calendars and want invites to all of the social sewing dates, let me know and I can add you as an attendee so they're automatically added to your diary.

Looking forward to hopefully seeing you next weekend!

Monday, September 2, 2013

One Pattern Seven Bloggers - Revisited - The Reveal

Welcome back everyone. Today is an exciting day, as today we are sharing with you our finished Macarons for the 1pattern7bloggers project. We showed you out inspiration and fabric last week, and today, the dress! (Apologies in advance for how picture heavy this post is)

I am really happy with the way my dress turned out. I could have picked an easier lace to work with, but at the time I couldn't find any other laces that I liked (although have seen some since). The lace is quick a thick (and heavy) guipure lace so it was quite tricky to (wo)manhandle the seams into place.

To make the dress the way I wanted to, I had to change up the construction slightly because I'd changed the bodice. I changed the pieces so that the lace for the bodice was all one piece, and then I had the green satin underneath in the style lines of the macaron (although changed slightly, as they were a bit low on me as drafted).

I stitched along the top of the satin underlining and the lining to finish that edge, and then hand basted the satin underlining to the lace (shown above).

After that I stitched up the darts and then treated it just like a normal bodice piece.

The bodice underwent some quite substantial changes to get it to fit. What I ended up doing was actually basically the same as my last 1pattern7bloggers dress and a few dresses since, kind of merging the pattern with my bodice block. I then made up a muslin of the bodice and altered the sweetheart style-lines so that sat in the right spot (ie they covered my bra). This last bit was done with the highly technical technique of drawing on the muslin with a biro while I was wearing it.

The last change I made was to alter the sleeves so that they had a straight hem and I could use the edge of the lace at the sleeve hem, along with using it along the hem of the dress.

I included the skirt as drafted... including the pockets inside one of the pleats, not that you'd know by looking at it...


Isn't that just really clever!! It's a sneaky trick I think I'll be using on future projects, that's for sure.

I finished off the hem of the underlining with my new rolled hem foot, isn't it just perfect?? Such a revelation, I can't believe I took so long to get the foot.

I'm still not entirely convinced by the shape of the skirt on me though, I'm not completely sure it's the most flattering silhouette.

Although partly I think that's because I could have nipped the waist in a little more than I did. However that was a deliberate decision not to, as I'm planning on wearing this to Frocktails next weekend, and since we're going out for a delicious dinner I thought a tight waistband would be a rookie mistake!

I finished the seam allowances of the lace and the neckline with black silk organza to try and make the lace that bit neater. It's the first time I've actually used silk organza and I'm very happy with how well it turned out.

And the last construction detail I wanted to share is the hand-picked zip that I added. It's definitely not the best I've ever done. But it's heaps better than a machine stitched zip would have been. It was a bit too tricky for me to try doing a lapped zip with the lace (as I've had less experience with them), so I stuck with a centred zip. It's a little gapey in spots, but it's down the side so it's less visible anyway, right?

I'd like to say thank you to Sarah for taking these photos for me, and wanted to make sure to include this shot of the back of the dress, as she wanted me to share it so you could see the perfectly symmetrical top edge of the underlining...

Anyway, I'm sure you're all just waiting for the announcement of the winners of the massive combined giveaway!

Firstly, another enormous thank you to all the generous sponsors of the giveaway:


The winners are:

The winners should receive an email from one of the 7 of us in the very near future to organise getting contact details for your prizes.

I hope you've enjoyed our revisiting of this project, and remember to head on over to see how the Macarons of the other 6 talented ladies turned out, I know I can't wait to see them:

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