Two Random Words Sun, 28 Feb 2016 05:39:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A rather old dress, and something I’ve been working on for the last few months Sun, 28 Feb 2016 05:39:43 +0000 Continue reading »]]> Hello all! First off, I’d like to apologise for my extended absence – I think it’s been about four months now! I haven’t had much energy recently for sewing or blogging, mainly because of something really exciting that I’ve been working on for the last several months, and am finally ready to share.

So what have I been working on? Want to guess?

No, it’s not a book.

Or a pattern company.

Or even sewing related, really.


A baby!

I’m currently 8.5 months pregnant – hence not having much energy or desire to sew. The heat of a very hot summer and fatigue from pregnancy, mixed with a rapidly changing body, means that I just didn’t feel up to a huge amount of sewing.

I will say, it’s amazing how quickly the body changes. Even though I wasn’t really “showing” until late in my 6-7th months (I was 5 months pregnant in my last post!), my bust measurement increased by 2″ by 8-10 weeks and my ribs expanded very quickly, which meant that most of my woven clothing went into a box for “later”. Slowly my waist got higher and has finally started to disappear, so anything remotely fitted hasn’t been an option for most of the pregnancy.

So most of what I’ve been wearing has been made from knit fabric, and mostly things I had already – like my more summery Moneta knit dresses (the leopard print and purplish ones), my Gillian wrap dresses (here and here), and some knit skirts I’ve made but not blogged about, together with singlet tops and occasionally blouses – luckily enough, my Granville blouses still fit over the belly! Although they have to be unbuttoned over the bust.

The few woven dresses I’ve worn have been like this one – which is a wrap dress made from “Gertie Sews Vintage Casual“. You may remember I’ve made this pattern before in 2014 – well, this version was actually made shortly after that one, I’ve just never gotten around to taking photos and posting about it.

One of the main problems I had with the pattern (which I didn’t fix before making this version) is that the waist is much too high – which is perfect for pregnancy! Hooray. That, and the overlap not quite being wide enough, which is less ideal for pregnancy. But no incidents yet.

The rayon challis has also been really nice to wear during the summer – as I mentioned above, it’s been SUPER hot here this summer, and having a little oven in my tum has made it worse. And there’s no air conditioning at work.

So, yes. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to take some photos of the things I’ve been sewing recently – I finally got around to getting a new camera charger, which will help! And I think it’s finally starting to cool down….

(Oh and I promise I’ll get around to answering some of the questions people have left me! And thank you so much to the couple of people who emailed about my absence – it made my day that people were missing my posts!)

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Self-drafted faux-wrap dress Thu, 05 Nov 2015 08:12:38 +0000 Continue reading »]]> In the interest of sharing all the old projects I haven’t blogged about yet… here’s a dress I made today. I’m nothing but consistent!

And, disclaimer: we’ve lost the charger to our camera so all these photos were taken on Mr. Guy’s cellphone. Just now realising what a difference a nice camera makes – the lighting was PERFECT when we took these but they’re still much more glaring than photos taken with our actual camera.

I’ve been wanting to make a faux-wrap dress for a while, but I haven’t had any knit fabric in my stash to try one out. I finally remembered to do a phone order with Levana earlier this week and so I had 7m of lovely cotton-lycra arrive on my doorstep yesterday, and as I have this week off work I was able to spent today working on the draft.

I drafted the bodice, starting with a knit sloper that I made from my bodice sloper/moulage (see more info here). I started off with the instructions for a woven surplice dress from Suzy Furrer’s “Creative Necklines” class, but obviously had to change things because I was dealing with a knit.

Here was my process:

  • Traced off the right half (when looking at it) of bodice knit sloper, but drew in the waist line on the other side
  • Came in 5cm from the left size seam and drew a line from that, to the right shoulder seam. This line was very slightly curved
  • Back bodice was just the knit sloper with the shoulders narrowed slightly to account for the neckband.
  • Made a neckband by using the following formula: (2(front neckline) + back neckline) x 0.9. Started off with a finished width of 1.5cm

Then made a muslin, and made the following changes (mainly because the V was much too low):

  • Raised the shoulder seams – took 1cm off the front shoulders and 2cm off the back shoulders as the shoulder seam was sitting too far forward, redrawing the back shoulders and neckline lower.
  • Shortened the angled line of the neckline by 5cm by removing length from the waistline at the distal end of the wrap, pulling the neckline tighter
  • Widened the neckband to make it 3cm once finished (to raise up the center front)
  • The neckband became approx 12cm shorter – I just stretched it to fit.

Then I made it up in this black cotton-lycra. For those interested, Levana is a knit textile factory in Levin, NZ. They make a mix of fabrics including technical fabrics for industry, but have a factory shop based in Levin and will also do phone orders (and you can buy merino from them here. The cotton-lycra is really good quality with great 2-way stretch (or 4-way stretch, however you say it) and recovery, and is only $10/m.

The sleeves are borrowed from a Cashmerette pattern (because I haven’t gotten around to making a sleeve sloper yet), and the skirt is a gathered a-line (similar to the skirt from the Moneta pattern), with lovely big pockets that are caught into the waist seam.

Things I need to work out how to fix for next time:

  • The side seam comes forward at the waist. I’m guessing this is because the double layer in the front makes the front stronger and less stretchy, so it easily pulls the side seam towards the front. I’m not sure how to fix that without making the back too small? Or making the front bigger, but that might affect how the neckline sits…
  • Not sure if the pulling under the bust is something I should bother fixing. I looked at other wrap dresses (e.g. the Wren by Colette) and they’re there, but I never noticed them/they never bothered me before, so probably not?
  • Shave off some fabric from the armscye. Because the neckline opens up at the upper chest, and because of the wide neckband, there’s excess fabrics under my shoulders. Pretty sure I can fix this by re-drawing the armscye and taking 1cm off at the shoulder.
  • Make the sleeves a bit longer – this isn’t the most flattering length for me. Or I might try flutter sleeves
  • I might also try a circle-style skirt rather than the gathers next time. And maybe a contrast neckband? I wouldn’t have thought of it, if it wasn’t for Mary (Idle Fancy)’s last two dresses.

Anything else anyone can recommend changing?? Other than pressing the skirt side seams…

In the photos you can see a bit of our garden, including the lawn mower (I interrupted Mr. Guy’s mowing to make him take photos for me). In the “orchard” you can see the big apple tree on the right, feijoa tree right behind me with a new apricot tree in front of it, lemonade tree to the left, and strawberries on the ground. Out of sight is another feijoa, a lemon tree, some rhubarb, and 4 blueberry bushes. In the background you may just be able to see the fence of the veggie garden (which we put up to keep the dog out of the raised beds, and to stop her from jumping the boundary fence – it’s like she’s got springs for legs!)


Pattern: Self-drafted

Fabric: Cotton-lycra from Levana, 2m = $20

Notions: Interfacing for shoulders and thread, stash

Total: $20

Does anyone have any good resources for drafting with knit fabric? I feel like there must be a completely different set of “rules” than with wovens, but haven’t been able to find anything good. I’ve got my fingers crossed that Suzy Furrer will do a class on it, but in the meantime it’s going to be trial and error unless I come across something.

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Old projects: Sleeveless Granville Sun, 01 Nov 2015 09:45:23 +0000 Continue reading »]]> Ugh. I have been slack, haven’t I? Not only have I not been sewing recently, I haven’t been blogging about the few garments I have sewn, or old projects that I hadn’t blogged about. I’ll try and remedy that in the next few weeks! Starting off with a sleeveless blouse I made in, err, April. Even the photos were taken in April!

As far as I can remember (seriously, 6 months ago! Naughty) this was made pretty much exactly as my suitcases blouse, except I added a bit more ease in the bust. It’s made from a cotton voile bought from The Fabric Store making it perfect for warmer days.

It is very slightly sheer, which means I tend to wear a singlet top under it – you may be able to see where the top of my pants stop.

In terms of construction, I went all out on this one – mainly because this was going to be my entry for The Monthly Stitch’s “Inside Out” month.. The collar and button plackets are interfaced with silk organza – I LOVE this stuff for light-weight shirts, and I’ve found that using a spray-adhesive makes it almost foolproof. The seams are done with french seams, and the armscyes and hem is finished with bias binding.

In terms of fit – to me this one looks pretty darn good, but since drafting my bodice sloper I’ve found there are some really big differences between the Granville and my bodice sloper, mainly to do with the upper chest and where the waist sits. I’ve been working on a similar shirt from the sloper and will try and get some shots to show what I mean, along with a comparison with another one or two patterns that I’ve previously fitted.

It fits so well when I hold it like this!

Other than that, I don’t really have much to say. Hope you’re all doing well!


Pattern: Sewaholic Granville

Fabric: Cotton voile from The Fabric Store, $18

Notions: Thread and buttons, stash. Silk organza approx. $4

Total: $22

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Muse – Gillian Wrap cardigan Mon, 07 Sep 2015 09:38:11 +0000 Continue reading »]]> You know how, every once in a while, you see a style/pattern that you had previously discounted and suddenly think “yes!”? And the more you look at it, and different versions of it, the more you want it? That happened to me about two months ago with the Papercut Coppelia wrap cardigan. But while there is many, many beautiful versions of it (this is probably my favourite), I also read some complaints about the fit, particularly around the sleeves (see here for an example).

So instead of spending the extra money (which I’ve been trying not to do, since we have a mortgage now) and faffing about with the fit, why not try and alter a pattern I already had that fit well, to match the style?

I decided to do the opposite of what Kat did to her Coppélia cardi here, and turn the Gillian wrap dress by Muse Patterns into a wrap cardigan. I already knew it fit well, having made it twice before (here and here), and looked good – I get a lot of compliments when wearing those dresses!

Basically, I followed the instructions except for where it came time to attach the waistband to the top and the skirt, I just used the instructions for the skirt portion (which leaves one long edge of the tie finished cleanly). This means I do have the gap in the waistband for the tie to pass through, but if I was to do it again I probably wouldn’t bother with that, particular if I was using merino again – there isn’t much point because it could as easily just cross over, but it does make the waistband a little less stable (only being attached by ~1cm at the very bottom).

Using this pattern instead of buying a new one also means I get the extra gathered yoke pieces, which I’m quite the fan of. The only real problem I’ve come across with the top is that a lot of my dresses seem to gape a bit at the neckline (for a variety of reasons), and the wrap style of cardigan accentuates that, so I don’t want to wear this with every dress in my wardrobe. Hopefully with my sloper I’ll eliminate that gaping and this style will work much better from here on out.

As mentioned above, I made this out of a grey merino wool from my stash. I think I might have bought this originally for a t-shirt for Mr. Guy, but as happens often, the plans I had when I bought the fabric doesn’t always come to fruition, and I get something else instead. I’m not very much of a planner!

It’s quite lightweight, which makes me think it’s happier being a wrap cardigan than a t-shirt anyway :)

You’ll have to excuse the photos – it’s been hard making the time to take photos (this cardigan was made about 6 weeks ago – I haven’t been doing much sewing recently), as it’s either grey and miserable, or if it’s sunny then I’m out mucking around in the garden (you can see the compost bins and one of the raised beds in the back – with my rows of garlic). I also couldn’t find the camera charger so Mr. Guy took these photos on his phone.

It was also, err, very bright, leading to photos like this (because it was hard to keep my eyes open!):

And even sillier ones like this, because I’m so happy it’s finally spring (and my giant magnolia tree is just starting to bloom):

So there we have it. I’m very pleased with the outcome of this cardi – it looks really good with my fit and flare dresses, which I have plenty of, and which I’ll no doubt make plenty more of.


Pattern: Gillian wrap dress by Muse Patterns

Fabric: Grey merino from stash from The Fabric Store, probably ~$40

Notions: Thread and interfacing for shoulder seams, stash

Total: $40

So what are your thoughts? Have you ever tried the ol’ pattern switcheroo? Honestly my main thoughts now that i’ve finished writing this is “I should really make another Gillian wrap dress”! Maybe in a solid colour. And either in merino, or a more summery fabric (if I can find something suitable).

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Self-drafted shirtwaist dress from sloper Mon, 03 Aug 2015 02:28:26 +0000 Continue reading »]]> Okay, I have two things to admit to you all. One, I still have a bunch of garments I haven’t blogged yet – most of them from before I moved (2m ago), and I think the number is now 5 or 6. It’s hard to get around to take photos with the shorter days, and I think I probably need a tripod for the days where Mr Guy doesn’t want to take them. The second is that I have been doing more drafting and it is so much fun, I don’t even want to go back to patterns. I know something awesome will draw me back but for now the only plans I have for using patterns is togs and a coat.

I’m not sure if it’s obvious in the picture, but I am so chuffed by this dress. The entire bodice and collar was drafted from my new bodice sloper. After the success of the skirt sloper, I decided to tackle the bodice sloper again. Again, this was done by following along with Suzy Furrer’s “Bodice Sloper” Craftsy class (affiliate link, yo). 

This time it took me three goes to get it right. Halfway through when trying to do the armhole I got stuck with the same problem as last time – the height between the shoulder and underarm looked too short, and I couldn’t draw the armhole in such a way to get enough length. So frustrating! But I read through all the other members comments where others had had the same problem, and I ended up remeasuring my front waist-to-neck a few centimeters longer. I started again using this measurement and it worked a lot better.

My sloper v2 from the front

Apologies – this is my moulage, which has no ease. The finished sloper has ease added to it and I used that to draft. The moulage is just to make sure the fit is perfect.

Thinking I’d cracked it, I happily started on a boatneck pattern. Then came disappointment when I tried it on and the neckline/shoulders didn’t fit at all – I realised that the shoulder on the sloper was too long (you can see pulling at the underarm in the picture above, and the shoulder was about 2cm too long). It was lucky I started with the boatneck version which made this VERY obvious and meant I couldn’t just ignore the problem!

So off came the extra length from the shoulders, and the armscye was redrawn. I also straightened out the curve from the waist to low hip and now I am very, very happy with the fit.

On Saturday I followed along with several of the drafting exercises – turning the darts into princess seams, moving darts around, and trying out two types of collar (using the collars and closures class) – the camp collar I’ve used for this dress, and a shawl collar on a v-neck. As I said, it’s so fun following along with the exercises, making up a muslin and having it fit perfectly! Gah.

So the bodice is completely self-drafted. The skirt is not, as I couldn’t be bothered with the whole slashing-and-spreading thing so I just used the pleated skirt from a Simplicity pattern. Ultimately it would have been easier for me to draft it myself – I find it really difficult to line up pleats with darts when it isn’t marked already for me. And in the end I’m not 100% pleased with the shape of the skirt, but oh well.

You can see it’s sleeveless, because I haven’t started the craftsy sleeve class yet (I’ll try and get measurements done this week). If you see any pulling around the armscyes it’s because I was clever and added seam allowance, but then didn’t take any out when I decided to finish the armholes with plain bias binding. Which I decided to leave visible

Me: “Should I leave the bias binding visible like this, or tuck it under?”
Mr. Guy: “Well what does the pattern say?”

Me: “it doesn’t! I made the pattern!”

Mr. Guy: “Well… what does the pattern say?”

Me: “Leave it like it is because it kind of looks like leather and leather is cool”. So there you go – visible bias binding finishing off the armholes and hem.

More drafting details:

  • Rotated the shoulder dart into the waist dart, and the armhole dart into the bust dart
  • I used the “high figure point” (nipple) as my guide for both darts and backed them off by ~1″ each
  • Front center extension = size of buttons (15mm) plus seam allowance (10mm)
  • Drafted a facing to match the front, and a back neck facing
  • The back has a waist dart, and I didn’t sew the back shoulder dart (instead coming in 20mm from the shoulder)
  • Drafted the collar – now this collar is interested! It’s on the bias, and is all cut on one piece so the bottom/straight edge is a fold rather than a seam. The underside is interfaced. I really liked this way of doing it (having it on the fold), so much easier!

Construction details

  • I finished the facing edges with folded over Hug-Snug. I haven’t yet formed the attachment to this that others have but I think I just need to play with it a bit more, and probably get a bunch more colours
  • Seams are all overlocked. I messed up with the side seam and not overlocking it early enough and then couldn’t overlock it after I’d inserted the zip (duh) so I ended up covering that side with bias binding.
  • Invisible zip in the right side seam, because I have the front skirt cut on the fold. I used this tutorial to insert the zipper along with pockets and it worked really well (other than me forgetting to finish the edges first)
  • As mentioned above, the armholes and hem are finished with plain folded over bias binding from my stash (a few years ago I bought a box of vintage bias bindings that I’m getting through)

 I’m not sure I entirely remember buying this fabric, although I have a dim recollection of getting it at spotlight, maybe earlier this year? I seem to have bought 5m of it, which is unlike me (usually I buy 2-2.5m only) but as it’s quite narrow it was a good thing – and I still had leftovers which I’m halfway through sewing into a top. It’s a plain tabby weave cotton, slightly stiff, but perfect for this style.

These photos are in our backyard – did I mention that we bought our first home? We have a massive back yard with enough room for Mr. Guy to have his lawn, and for me to have a big veggie garden and multiple fruit trees (I’ve planted 8 so far and have three that need to go in soon). The big tree behind me is a magnolia tree – I’m so looking forward to this flowering! And the flowers underneath were a total surprise for late winter – the daffodils smell amazing! Here’s hoping for more similar surprises come spring and summer.

 Jessie in particular loves the lawn: 

And our cat Travis enjoys sitting on the top of the spa that came with the place, and will enjoy the sun we’ll get in summer


Pattern: Self drafted

Fabric: Polka dot cotton from Spotlight, probably ~$40

Notions: Buttons, thread, interfacing from stash

Total: $40 

Have you tried drafting before, or are you interested? I have been meaning to try for a while (obviously seeing as I bought the bodice sloper class over a year ago) and had tried on a few alright-fitting pre-bought patterns but it is SO EASY to do with this sloper! At the moment all I’m bound by is my imagination – next I’m going to do a shawl collar dress and try drafting a button-down shirt, before turning my gaze to a knit t-shirt (I’ve emailed Craftsy asking for Suzy Furrer to do a knitwear class, as well as an outerwear class and menswear).

Edit: I’m also more than happy to hear any feedback that you may have on the dress, if there’s anywhere you think I could improve the fit. This is better than I’ve ever gotten before and I can’t see much wrong but there may be something I’m overlooking. And this goes for any post, I’m very happy for constructive criticism.

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