MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A PATTERN PYRAMID WINNER

A very quick post!

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it! I’m exhausted after a very long day of Santa presents, two family meals, breakfast with friends, lots of children and warm weather!

Sorry it’s a tad late but I threw everybody’s name into a spreadsheet and then used the random number generator at random.org – I would have documented this via images but it’s Christmas and I’m just soooooo tired! And tomorrow, depending on the weather, it’s anoth long day of cricket in the sun etc. I need to sleep – or rather slip into a temporary coma.

So the winner of the Pattern Pyramid is…

SCRUFFY BADGER!

I will be keeping the Jiffy pattern, I’ve worn it three times this week, including this afternoon. I can’t bear to part with it. So I’m throwing TWO patterns into the mix as I feel bad… although that little pattern went unremarked until my round. My husband thinks its just the magical lighthouse photo, unusual fabric and remarked that if I took of the belt you would all realise it’s just a little sack.

Simplicity Jiffy 4977

Simplicity Jiffy 4977

I got sewing goodies today – I will share as soon as Christmas madness ends!

The big decisions… and I need some underlining advice…

I’ve been thinking about making a Christmas dress. I kinda missed the Birthday Dress event so I’m seeing if I can whack out a Christmas dress. I’ve had many moments of decisiveness… followed by more moments of indecisiveness. My first thought was to make a Cambie – because I just love Cambies, right? Yes, absolutely I have the Cambie Pox. And I have been dying to make another. However I just thought I needed to stretch myself and perhaps, you know, be wild and crack out another pattern… because… well… I have a few… and my next Cambie shall be a pretty little aqua skulls affair, remember?

So I was tossing up between these two.

Christmas 2012 dress pattern choices

Christmas 2012 dress pattern choices

The slim straight shift (the sort of dress I haven’t made much of but it the style I wear to work a lot – perhaps not quite as slinky but suits my shape) or the pink vintage halterneck… in a dramatic red cotton damask. Please note readers that it can be very hot in Australia at Christmas time, so shrug aside your cowls, scarves and cardies and think HOT, HOT, HOT.

Then today I thought I might make the Lonsdale, a decision I was pondering recently on Twitter…

Sewaholic Lonsdale fabric choice

Sewaholic Lonsdale fabric choice

I purchased this fabric for the Lonsdale and it’s navy/red/white and not particularly Christmassy… but I can wear this all summer (and most of spring and autumn) and it seems like a much more sensible idea… what do you think? I love the fact it’s got a bow… I think that will be my Christmassy touch :-)
*sigh* I’m still not sure.

Right now as I’m typing I’m thinking the Vogue dress would look very striking. And it says that it’s easy… much harder to squash in a big Christmas lunch and then a big Christmas dinner (and we usually have breakfast at friend’s house before yo-yoing between the parents’ homes later in the day. The dress would definitely be a post breakfast outfit – maybe even a Christmas party dress if I can make it quickly).

Next big question… I want to make a cropped sleeve version of this jacket and I have this fabric.

Fabric for my Burda Bolero

Fabric for my Burda Bolero

A tiny remanent from The Fabric Store. I think I can squish it out of the pattern by cutting the facings out of a cotton sateen. It’s a cotton/silk/lurex blend.

Should I underline this as well?

Please don’t tell me to underline this with silk organza – because I cannot buy that where I live and I am SICK of paying shipping costs for ABSOLUTELY anything that is not cotton voile/lawn *frown* my local fabric stores are limiting!

When ELH returns from his fishing adventures I will get him to photograph my Maria Denmark Yasmin Yoke skirts… he’s been away a lot due to a serious family illness, hence my sewing and blogging has not been as prolific, but life should return to normal soon… oh hang on it’s Christmas…

CHEAP & CHEERFUL

Last weekend was more Busy Lizzy than Sew Busy Lizzy. Fear not I managed to squish in a bit of sewing – a remake of an old skirt but a new sewing challenge for me.

Maytime markets outing - Vogue 1247

Maytime markets outing – in my beloved Vogue 1247, aka the Tardis Skirt!

I spent half of Saturday folding up other people’s old clothes for the school’s Maytime Markets. I should count my lucky stars I wasn’t the store organiser who spent weeks picking up clothes and sorting them into sizes etc. Saturday was back-breaking work and quite overwhelming. There was hundreds and hundreds of pieces of clothing from babies through to old lady stuff, hand bags, belts, hats and more. Yes I thought it sounded like paradise as well… until I was faced with helping stack them into some sort of order in a classroom! Sunday was spent at the markets helping ‘man’ the stall. It was a hoot, people went bananas, most things were $1 and the ‘fancy’ stuff was $2 or $3.I confess I did bring home the odd thing or two…

maybe three or four…

coulda been five or six…

ok I lost count!

However I did buy two skirts that were huge on me – purely to chop up and remake into something new. One of the skirts was brand new with tags still on. Neither of them were ‘fancy’ brands but I loved the patterns and figured it would be a cheap experiment. At $1 and $2 each I threw caution to the wind.

So I bought this…

Maytime Markets Skirt No 1

Maytime Markets Skirt No 1. Too big for me! Purchased for the princely sum of $1

I am saving the second post for another post : )

damper – Jabba the Hutt of the food world.

I loved this fabric. It’s from a cheap nasty chain store and the fabric is not fabulous quality. Still the colours and pattern really appealed to me and there was quite a bit of fabric without seams running through it so it looked promising for an overhaul.

The original skirt needed about 10cm (4 inches) taken out of the waist and in my former pre-Sew Busy Lizzy life I would have just tossed it aside with a sigh of regret. I felt it was just too big to alter successfully – and full skirts just made me look like a little dumpling – I’m sure they are delicious but they are not the most visually pleasing of food items. And anyway Aussies are more damper than dumpling people (which looks like the Jabba Hut of the food world – although tastes excellent out of the camp fire, covered in charcoal with lashing of butter and golden syrup…).

But no more! I took it home at the end of the markets and promptly set about destroying it with vicious glee. I was very upset when the zip broke as I had wanted to make this a total remake but it wasn’t to be. The zip went to stitching heaven and I got a new one for about $1.50. Alas.For the last couple of weeks I had been wanting to try out Simplicity 2451. It’s had gushing reviews and it’s as cute as a button. However I am loathe to try out a new pattern when I’m never quite sure if 1) it’s going to have fit issues or 2) the design will suit me – and I hate to waste fabric! Then along came Maytime Markets Revisited Skirt No. 1 – match made in heaven. With some jiggling and squeezing I managed to get all the pattern pieces out of the main skirt, I ended up having to do an extremely dodgy piecing job for one of the pockets…

Maytime Markets revisited skirt - The 3 Buck Wonder dodgy pocket

Maytime Revisited Project, Skirt No. 1 – the dodgy pocket. Made using Simplicity 2451, view D

and used the skirt’s original lining for the inner pockets…

Maytime Markets revisited - the pocket lining

Maytime Markets revisited skirt project – the pocket lining made from the original skirt’s lining

I did rush through this project – I did not bother too much with finishing the seams. To be honest I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did! I’ll go back and pink the exposed seams. I saw this as an experiment and a challenge, fortunately a successful one!

And here is the somewhat-smaller-than-the-original Maytime Markets Revisited Skirt No. 1 which I have nickname Cheap & Cheerful. It’s been a busy week so have not had a chance to get out of my work clothes and into this for a photo (it’s dark so early now and cold!) but I will take one over the weekend as I really like this one (IMHO)

Maytime Markets skirt - 'my' finished skirt using Simplicity 4470

Cheap & Cheerful Skirt. My Maytime Markets revisited skirt project – ‘my’ finished skirt using Simplicity 2451

Happy Little Mailbox

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Finally! Colette patterns sheets arrived on Friday afternoon (yes right before I left for my weekend school reunion!) and today three Colette patterns – including Hazel – arrived.
Lots of happy hand clapping.
Just have to finish Lisette Itinerary & my ‘lounge’ Tardis skirt!

More fabulous presser feet

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Sorry, I’ve been AWOL. School reunion this weekend (out of town – boarding school girl – loved it), horrible work deadlines and just general horribleness. But I am plugging away a seam at a time at Lisette Itinerary. I’m in love with my presser feet. It’s kinda scary. I’ve used three so far and there is no zipper!
Yes you can use the edge of the foot to measure (or eyeball) a distance but this little puppy makes it a snack.
Love love love.
I’m HOPING to finish this dress by Thursday.
I think work may interfere. Oh the misery!
I’m so tired I’m doing this post on my smart phone. Tragic.
I’m very happy with this dress so far – cannot find page 2 of instructions so it might be a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants affair.
Watch this space!

Another day of crushing disappointment?

I’ve been waiting for weeks for my Colette Sewing Handbook, now I’m just waiting for the delightful publisher (note this is not Colette Patterns – who have been most helpful) to dispatch their delivery man in a canoe across the oceans to my humble mailbox.

I’m also waiting for three patterns from Colette.

I’m wondering if today is going to be another day of crushing disappointment with nothing but a mailbox bulging with bills to welcome me home – and not a pattern sheet in sight…

We shall see…

Stamp of Approval Dress

Simplicity 2209 - source www.sewlisette.com

Simplicity 2209 - source http://www.sewlisette.com

I’m bamboozled… yes, yes lovely jacket on the pattern envelope… but why cover up the frightfully cute sun dress?? Perhaps it’s Lisette’s hidden treasure! Aha. Busted! Full pattern details here…I purchased just one Lisette pattern - this one. Mainly because I love shirt dresses and I want more but have been struggling to find patterns that I like. I want to make version C and it’s been languishing in my pile as I am very tired at the moment and the thought of cutting out so many patterns pieces makes me more tired. So version C can wait for now.

Fortunately (or unfortunately as ELH* may think) Spotlight had a sale and I gave into the urge and got the Lisette Passport pattern. It has far less pieces which was a saviour for this little chook at the moment. I got the pattern for the cute casual jacket but fell in love with the dress bodice darts which you can’t even see in the in-store catalogue! It’s a silly that Simplicity doesn’t put line art in their catalogues and it doesn’t come up immediately on their website in the way Vogue, McCalls etc does.

I picked up some super cute navy and white spot cotton for this pattern’s ‘muslin’ but I like it so much that I think it’s ‘more than a muslin’.

This dress is easy peasy. The waist darts look effective and you simply sew one and then the second overlaps it. For the non-stitchers it looks like an impressive engineering feat. For the stitchers out there (such as the ones reading this) they will just go ‘that’s hardly rocket science’. Fortunately all of my friends are non-stitchers so I just dazzle them with my cleverness (this is our secret, please don’t tell).Simplicity 2209 - Lisette Passport Dress

The dress went together without a hitch, there was absolutely nothing to complain about – right up until the zipper (cue scary music). All those Pattern Reviews are right – the zip instructions are awful (well if you are not a very experienced zip installer they are and this is only this little black duck’s third zip!). It’s supposed to be a lapped zipper… which would be lovely… so I dutifully installed it as instructed since I had never put in a lapped zipper…

It looked awful…
so I ripped it out…
I installed it again…
It looked even more awful…
I put the dress aside and thought ‘ugh, such a shame, nice dress but I can’t wear it like that‘.

Then I woke up on a public holiday and thought ‘I AM going to fix that dress. I AM.”

So apart while I was feeling positive and sounding rather like a Dr Seuss character, I leapt out of bed (I’m lying, I’m not a morning person at all, so it was more of a roll, moan, groan manoeuvre.), grabbed my stitch ripper and took to the dress with murderous intent. My mother watched me taking out the zip for the third time and commented she didn’t think it was that bad – crikey this from a perfectionist!! She clearly thought someone had stolen her slapdash daughter and replaced her with someone else!

This time I ignored the pattern instructions and just put it in as a centred zipper. It’s still not perfect (after all the stitching and ripping – small amounts of swearing – what can one expect), but it’s under my armpit and that’s not an area I tend to highlight when putting my outfits together. In fact I can’t think of a single person who dresses to highlight their ‘perfect pits’. Anyone remember this image of Julia Roberts at the premiere of Notting Hill? This did not bother me particularly… but clearly it got a lot of other people quite hot under the collar, but you get my point. On the upside, I’ve put in six zips now into just four dresses. Cool stats!

Other reviewers have suggested putting it in the back. I think this is a great idea but I like the slick run of fabric across my back. So when I make this again (note: not if) I’m going to try an invisible zipper – underneath my concealed armpit (now that I have a very lovely invisible zipper foot for my precious Bernina).

The dress does have facings, they are easy to attach and they are caught up neatly around the armholes with bias binding. I really liked this style of facing. There was no puckering around the armpit or masses of flopping facing to tuck in. All neat & tidy.

I’m going through a belt phase at the moment and picked up this cute little red belt at Dotti for $4.95 (ha! a Dotti belt for the dotty dress). I just love how accessories always seem to be on sale. It would appear there is a whole generation who has not picked up on the power of accessories and the art of distraction so bargain bins are overflowing with little cheap and not-so-nasty delights.

One day more people will discover the huge power accessories have to create a focal point and highlight your good bits (or distract them from the not so good bits) and I’ll have to pay full price. But until then it’s our dirty little secret, OK? It just so happened the belt perfectly matched my red heels (which unfortunately did not cost $4.95). I love red – I just can’t wear it as a main colour because I’m quite sallow skinned – but accessories work a treat! The belt kinda hides the cute waist dart but I like the navy/red/dot combo so much I can’t resist. I would love to make this one in a textured slubby-sort-of linen/cotton (yeah that’s a technical term). I think the bodice would look smashing.

I like this dress, it’s simple and classic. I’ve never worn so many dots but I think it’s growing on me. This fabric and the Passport dress deliver maximum impact for very little work. What more can a girl ask for?

There are lots of lovely dresses on Pattern Review, especially like this one by CJgal and this checked one by the Quirky Peach v.cute. My dress seems quite fitted in comparison to most but I think it looks OK. I think if it was a size bigger it would be gaping around the armholes and the neckline on me (my bone structure resembles a sparrow). I think it works on me – or I could be delusional?

Just a BTW: I finished this dress around the time I started emailing a London-based friend about an escape trip (the ELH* thinks I should go overseas – I hate to disappoint him so I’m strategising the how, where and why). So the Passport Dress is kinda perfect for right now in my life. Given that funny coincidence, I’m off to the local quilting shop tomorrow to get a Japanese contrast fabric for the Lisette Itinerary Dress (sorry ELH) that I’m making in navy linen. I guess that’s the perfect follow-up to getting the Passport sorted out… Itinerary is next.

Note: I whacked together a Colette Peony yesterday. Horrendous. Now that dress bodice MUST be made first as a muslin (I am humbled). My measurements match Size 0 but the bodice is a complete disaster. I would share an image but I’m concerned I might crack the camera lens…

I showed Homer, my sewing room buddy (see right), and he freaked out.

* Note: ELH is the Ever Lovin’ Hubby

More pictures on Flickr – including the zip