Wednesday, March 9, 2016

My Favourite (so far) Mary Shift Dress

I love shopping at Magazine Clothing, and saw a nice dress online recently which featured a panel of contrasting fabric on the front while the sleeves, hem and back were in another fabric. It was priced around $300. I thought, I can make that so pulled out the Mary Shift Dress pattern one more time this summer.

I have had the flower fabric for a couple of years and took it back to The Fabric Shop in Otara to find some green fabric. The flower fabric feels like a super soft cotton - maybe it's a rayon? And the green is a bit heavier and is lovely. It has a bit of a sheen to it. No idea what type of fabric it is - I will check that out when I next visit. I do remember it was only $8 per metre and it came in about 10 colours.

I think it's my best choice of fabric so far because it hangs nicely.

Originally the back was going to be green - I had it all cut out when I noticed a couple of marks that I must have got on it after cutting it out. I washed it and they didn't move. I didn't have any green fabric left but enought of the flowers, so the back ended up in flowers too.

Sadly, the dress did not bring me any or this pretty little horse any luck at the races. Next time.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Nameless Quilt with Curves

I was inspired to make start this quilt after seeing a picture on instagram which lead me right to Kathy York's tutorials on how she made it - scroll down to 'The Making of One Earth'. I was very keen to use teal and mustard for some reason.

My first block above turned out ultra-wonky. I think I flipped some of the curves. This one ended up in the bin.

The solids are all from Spotlight. The yellow/gold isn't as mustard as I was really looking for but sometimes when you want to sew you want to sew and don't want to wait days or weeks for an online order. I bought just half a metre of the gold and maroon, and a metre of the teal. Because I rejected my first block, I didn't have any gold left for the re-make block, so it's perhaps a bit darker than I would like. Originally, I pulled a white with black spot for the fourth fabric but had a sudden brainwave to test the leftovers from a dress I had just finished and really, really liked the look of that. Not sure how practical it is to have silk in a quilt ... guess I will find out.

I have since added a 30cm-ish border of the black yarn dyed linen. (I bought 3 metres of it and I don't have a lot left.) Since then it's sat folded up on the footstool in the lounge waiting to be basted. I plan to hand quilt it using a perle-type thread following - kind of - the circles.

I am yet to settle on a name for this one - I quite like aamio (v. to orbit, go round) or whetuu maarama (n. planet). Think I am leaning towards the first idea.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sewing with Stylearc Patterns

I am enjoying clothes sewing lately. I think it's an example of success making me feel more confident with what I am doing.

I have made a blue cotton Courtney Top which I wore to school one day last week. I did some top stitching on this one.

After enjoying that process and the outcome, I sent away for the Mary Shift Dress pattern and visited The Fabric Shop outlet in Otara. I haven't ever used a border print fabric before. Not sure what the rules are, but I cut this dark grey dress across the width of the fabric.

That version went well, so I made a second version out of some silk I bought at The Fabric Store in Newton Rd. They were having a sale last weekend. This is the fabric I referred to in an earlier post - I wondered if I would look a bit like a tablecloth wearing this big of a check! Anyway, this time I made the sleeves in a contrasting black fabric as per the pattern. I quite like that effect. I also added one pocket - not sure I love that look.

I am feeling quite pleased with both these efforts. I have one more dress length of fabric and one more top length. I will probably make another Courtney Top and maybe try out a Toni Designer Dress - a pattern I bought a year or so ago and haven't ever used!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Making a Top

This long weekend I whipped up a Courtney Top by Style Arc, an Australian pattern company.

The upside from buying just across the Tasman is the exchange rate and reasonable postage. The downside from buying not local is having to wait a week for the pattern to arrive. In anticipation of its arrival, I visited The Fabric Store and purchased some black and 'beige' gingham style silk. It was on sale. It comes in a bigger check, but I thought I might look like a tablecloth wearing that big of a check. I sometimes wonder about that when I wear my navy checked top already!

Silk was maybe a little bit ambitious for a mere medium skilled sewer. It  frays like mad and I found it challenging to do the tiny bottom hem.

However, in saying that it was a pretty straightforward sew. I handsewed down the inside of the neck binding because I dislike fiddly machine sewing.

My favourite part, after the bias neck binding, is the little bit of gathering under the back yoke.

When I make my next one, I am going to lengthen it. I like the length of the back, but the front is maybe 5 cm shorter which I feel is too short for me.

I have spent too much of today doing school work, so I am now returning to sewing the flowers onto my Garden Party WIP.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Making a Dress

Every January I feel like making clothes. Every January I buy a pattern. Every January passes and I don't. I think this time last year I bought a 100 Acts of Sewing pattern.

I visited The Fabric Shop in Otara this morning (formerly know as Designer Textiles Outlet). I was keen for linen, but they didn't have any. I found a cotton chambray that feels and, annoyingly, wrinkles like linen. It has tiny flecks of green, red and yellow. I think it was only $8 a metre.

My favourite part of the making was the liberty bias which I hand sewed down because I hate fiddly machine sewing.

I lengthened the dress so it finishes just under my knees. I shortened the sleeves so they finish at the elbow and I added only one pocket. I thought two might make it look a bit pinaforey. I also lessened the degree of the A-line by about 1.5 inches on both sides as it was quite sticky-outty. I think because the fabric is heavier like linen.

I am keen to to make another one. This one is a bit wide on the shoulder - the shoulder seam sits a way off my actual shoulder, so I will have to google a solution to that. And I would like a slightly wider, and more sticky uppy neck binding/collar. So I will be heading back to Otara in the near future.

Sunday, January 17, 2016


Unbelievably I have just one piece left to needle-turn applique. I think it's been like this for two - three months! It's a tricky tree - leaf piece which is why I have been avoiding it.

To show myself it's so close to being done, I added the two borders.

Now to get that applique done.

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Garden Party Quilt is Growing

In addition to getting my part of the round robin done in the hols, I made my nephew Lucas a chair-book-bag. He starts school when school commences for the new year at the end of Jan and this was on the list of things he needed. We made a trip to Spotlight and he chose some dinosaur fabric. His sister Lucy saw the bag and thought it would make a good sleeping bag for her dolls, so I whipped up a smaller version for her dolls to sleep in. Last I saw, her toy horses (known as the 'cousin horses') were sleeping in it! No photos there, but here I did instagram a few pics of the garden party quilt.

First I worked on the background - known as the dirt, the fence and the sky. Here's a glamorous clothesline photo minus the sky.

Once I added the sky it barely fitted on the lounge floor, so I shifted it onto the lawn to trial flower placement. I have since hand stitched on seven flowers. In a way I feel a bit disappointed they cover up the background.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

It's Tui O'Clock - Completed Round Robin Quilt

The tui is endemic to Aotearoa - New Zealand. There are stories of tui that have been trained to talk. That would be lots of fun! Anyway, last August for our Modern Monday I made tui o'clock using a Bubblestitch pattern I bought on etsy.

Carolyn, Megan and Robyn each added a round to it and Louise quilted and bound the little quilt.

I love the colours. I love the parts that have been added and the fabrics.

It's going to hang in the dining room as soon as I made a sleeve for it, where it will coordinate with the orange piano, orange dining chairs, orange framed Hastings tea towel and my Great Aunt's little bit orange chairs. Perfect. Thanks, ladies!