24 June 2012

Miz Mozelle's Hummingbirds

One night, while working on this dress, I was overcome by a major sewing appreciation moment. You know the obvious stuff that comes to mind: a creative outlet, playing with fabric, colour, fashion. The secondary stuff...Sanity. Distraction. But I was suddenly all appreciative of some other things learning to sew has taught, namely patience and trust. On my first grade report the teacher wrote 'Sophie does not like to try things unless she knows she will be good at them'. Aaah, still so true. Surely I'm not alone in getting so easily overwhelmed by the sum total of something that I can't bare to start just in case I get stuck along the way. But sewing has taught me to go slowly and take care with big things like following instructions, smaller important things like transferring markings but also to get help when I hit a bump. Generally, to trust in the process. For someone with giver-uper tendencies it's a pretty major revelation that if I take each step one at a time and don't look down (get freaked out by section coming up), I end up with a finished dress in my hands. It's the craziest thing.

Oh man, I la la la LOVE this dress. And not just the dress but the pattern behind it, the Miz Mozelle by Jamie Christina. Admittedly, it wasn't even in the project queue (just floating around my sewing inspiration pinterest board). But I'd been wondering what to make out of this extra drapey pink jersey with finches (an etsy find from here) and after seeing the white version of the Miz Mozelle I was sold...and made an impulse pattern purchase. Oooo sewing thrills!

Let's talk about the pattern. In my shortish sewing experience, there's only been a handful of clothes I've made, where I've thought 'yup I am going to make another one'. But for good reasons both the Mission Maxi Dress and the Miz Mozelle make the list with their flattering fit, neat finish, not to mention a beautiful end result. This dress is basically a slipper for your whole body, it's soooo comfy. There's lovingly thought out details like binding on the capped sleeves, a sweet little collar and a key hole with button closure. I added piping to my collar to make it stand out from the background fabric and found a pale pink heart button. Saccharine enough for ya?

Sometimes you just have to hear things a few times, from a few different angles before it clicks. I've been this way about sewing knits, knowing there's some magical combination of this foot and that stitch and yadadyaa. And I kind of got it, but it wasn't until the last few knit projects that it's really come together. This dress sewed like a dream and is ten times neater than my last stretch adult stretch project, the Tigerlily Maxi. No puckers, no pulling and I can put it down to this: Stretch needle, walking foot and stretch stitch in the parts that need to stretch and regular stitch for the rest. Finally, I think I've tamed the stretch. But maybe not the thistle...

...note to self: blow away from wind.

20 June 2012

Meet my house skirt

 When I began my sewing journey, circa 2010, I booked a couple of classes to get the basics and this skirt was my first adult project. I had a lot of help since it was a garment of firsts...first zipper, facing, darts, interfacing and first attempt lining up a print. I must have still had some pregnancy hormones hanging around at the time because whenever I looked at it, the colours made me feel a little pukey. Something about that salmon-y pink with the beige background. Anyway, I quickly deposited it in the drawer of 'house clothes', you know, the ones that are just a step up from pyjamas and you don't care too much what happens to them.

Now I'm thinking I really should give this skirt more credit. I mean, it gets worn hard out in the yard, cleaning the house, gets covered in food and toddler grime and I probably wipe my hands on it too. Okay, I do. Basically I treat it like an apron. And because I don't care, at two years and going strong, it's developed magical stain resistant qualities. While everything Í'm remotely attached to, like lovingly hand-made clothes, becomes a magnet for debris. Familiar? However, for something banished to the 'home clothes' pile it certainly gets a lot of wear outside the house. Just lately I've even been thinking about promoting it to the next drawer up. And making another since it's just so comfy and so lovingly accommodates extra winter 'insulation'. Does it deserve another go?

The pattern is the Betsy Ross pencil skirt which I think is now out of print (there's a couple floating around etsy ) and the fabric is Tina Givens 'Silouette Polka'. Well, this post has 'filler' written all over it but I've almost finished a new dress and it's awaiting it's 'shoot'. Patience my pretties!

14 June 2012

Not another blooming pair of...

Yup, it's anothery. This time a in teal corduroy (thrifted) with mock antique brass anchor buttons (not thrifted). Sitting alongside a vintage transfer singlet and a new fedora made with this dress's leftovers and this pattern. 

I went back for the Oliver and S Sailboat pants pattern to use as a bloomer base again here and I'm pretty smitten with this pair. It's nice when you like stuff you make. The difference between these and the hot air balloon version is bloomer cuff here fits a lot closer to the leg so there's a decent amount of puff, which I like.

So you've seen the lounging squid singlet here but it's back again as the perfect partner in crime for these bloomers. They were quite literally made for each other. Why, all of a sudden I've been struck by the urge to make little 'ensembles', who knows. Anyone else afflicted? Best not to question and just get on with giving this style a fitting title...how about Vintage-Pirate-Modern? Sure, you can use it. And if you want to bloomify some pants for your lil' man, the tutorial can be found here.

Maybe you've started to notice the number of hand-made stuffs photographed 'on the wall' out-numbering 'on the kids'. Clothes on the wall don't wiggle, since these days 'photo sessions' always turn into dance-offs between my one and four year old. On the stairs. On the table. No music necessary. These boys rock to their own beat. But me...I cannot verk in dees conditions!

07 June 2012

Hot air ball-oomers

Between Kids Clothing Week in April and a jam-packed month of May I feel I'm just coming up for air now. As much as I love the thrills of sewing for a purpose or a challenge it's nice to return to some slower paced, soul sewing. And that means I've finally had the chance to make more vintage boy bloomers! This time I 'bloomified' the Basic Pocket Pant from Growing Up Sew Liberated instead of the Oliver and S Sailboats from the Vintage May tutorial. I could try and make it sound glamorous but since the tutorial really only involves gathering the leg openings and adding cuffs, you can use any kids pants pattern you like.

In between scouting for thrifted fabrics and old shirts, Etsy is still my go-to destination for amazing children's fabrics. There's still plenty of mileage to go with this one; a japanese linen cotton blend with a charming yesteryear print that lends itself to things like pea coats and boy bloomers. 

When I think of vintage clothing, I think of attention to details and there's no shortage of fun to be had with them here. I widened the waistband for a bit of Harry High Pants and added self-cover buttons (you could add suspenders). Then used a sort of thrifted chambray from the stash for contrasting pocket backing and cuffs. And lastly added piping along the pocket edge. Given my stance on piping, I exercised great restraint here (I ran out).

Paired with a vintage transfer tee they make for a perfectly gentlemanly outfit.

04 June 2012

Who are you and what have you done with Selma

Say hello to the new and improved Selma-sational! 

In case you missed this post, that's Selma Sack Dress on the left, sad and desperate for a date. A date with the sewing machine, that is. The procedure was 'invasive' and the only part of the original dress left is the placket but she's happier for it. I have to say you guys blew me away your ideas and enthusiasm for project re-vamp Selma. Talk about putting the pressure on. I spent the next few days staring at this dress, paralyzed to start with 'don't stuff up, don't stuff up!' going round in my head. Stuff up a $2 dress? Luckily, I got over that one real quick and began the hacksacktomy.

Just in case you want to attempt your own sack dress re-vamp, here's the how-to: It's going to sound like everything flowed nicely from one step to the next but it was more like sew, pause ( scream) un-pick, sew...you get the picture. For the fitted bodice, I traced a dress of mine but added three inches to the length to sit on my waist. Only I didn't take into account the fabric on the other dress was really stretchy and this one more like an interlock so it's a little snug for my liking, but wearable. I sewed the placket shut to avoid gapage, bound the neck and armholes and used the pocket pattern pieces from the Darling Ranges dress pattern. For the skirt part I cut the side seams of the original dress and turn them on their side so that I could get the length I wanted for a dropped hem. I sewed new side seams, made a couple of new box pleats at the front and gathered the back. Lastly, I cut the skirt higher at the front, dropped at the back and hemmed.

I wore it the all day Sunday, got friendly with a hedge and even managed to wriggle a boob out the top to feed Hudson. My brother said it 'looked nice' before he knew it was hand-made so I think we'll declare this one a win on that alone. I paired it with thrifted belt, shoes and denim jacket and this lovely pressed flower pendant by Neus of Tiny Nice Things.