Thursday, 28 November 2013

another stashbusting Doctor Who costume is in the wings

I'm going to a 1 day Dr Who convention and don't fancy wearing a nightgown - though it would be very comfortable!

I know, I know - wearing a costume isn't compulsory but it's a whole lot of fun. I'm plotting a femme version of one of the Doctors, and will show each item as it's finished - may not get a jacket made in time. Then, assuming I finish sewing before the event I'll let you guess which of the Doctors it is.

Plus I think it's fair to suggest that it's a more steampunk version than screen accurate. Mainly cos I'm having to use stash for 90% and thinking of it as steampunk femme is the only way my brain is happy.
Fabric clues:

Sunday, 24 November 2013

my Vampires of Venice costume - and a fabulous party

I got a haircut this week - and didn't wear a wig as it was too hot when I arrived. Probably should have cos then I could have pinned the veil to my 'hair'. Instead it was precariously in place for a couple of pix and then tossed aside. Plus this costume was comfortable to sleep in.

 Back to the night before: The shed out the back

 some of my peeps

Some of the Doctors present

Lorna had a TARDIS apron, and a skirt with Paris on it - Paris is bigger than an apron!

One of the Sisterhood I want to join

Friday, 22 November 2013

tsk tsk, pattern instruction error

My vege-brain blindly followed the instructions for Simplicity 4111, steps 9 & 10. These are wrong! At the end of step 10 you get:

and when you flip the pieces around to the outside of the bodice, what you get at the centre front is this:

Spot that the neckband finishes on top of the button band, when it should be underneath the button band.
This is how these pieces should be placed - and for a ruffled finish you would need to be very careful that the edge ruffle is exactly placed so it isn't caught in the button band.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

half an hour a day

I've not got any worthwhile progress shots - it's all pretty bland so far - but I'm doing 30 minutes a day on sewing despite not feeling so good. I've had a week of upper gastro ache & some stabby pain, along with going off my food. I'm having an ultrasound on Monday to see if there are any random stones where they shouldn't be ie ducts etc. It happens in 1% of peeps who've had their gallbladder removed. If I didn't have to be fasting for the test then I wouldn't have to wait for Monday, but all the morning timeslots are taken. Even though I'm only eating fruit (and my morning essential coffee) I dont' want to wait all day for that!

Monday, 18 November 2013

realising that lining is needed (Dr Who costume)

While cutting out the nightgown I realised that the fabric is too sheer to leave unlined, and not self-lined or that'll be a whiter bodice & top half of skirt.  I checked my spreadsheets to see if I had something suitable and had a couple of options.  This is the one I'll go with simply because it's already pre-shrunk.  WIN.

The motif on the white is 3cm (2 1/4") if you're interested.

I had to remind a friend that it isn't the town hall & he doesn't get a vote in whether I do or don't line it.

Tonight I got the skirt & sleeve seamed & overlocked, with the hem overlocked ready to turn & stitch.  Tomorrow night I cut out the facings & linings - after I see Thor 2.  Wednesday I assemble the bodice, make the skirt & sleeve plackets (so I can roll up the sleeves if I overheat).  Thursday haircut + waist & sleeves cuffs, Friday insert sleeves.  Saturday - party on!

another summer sleepwear idea

I should have known ... back in 2007 Simplicity had a pattern that's almost a dead ringer for the nightgown I'm trying to finesse from the almost-but-not-quite pattern ... this cover pic of #3893 is from an affordable uncut pattern for sale on etsy.

Hey, not too disappointed though as I'm starting to think that it's not going to be the comfiest to get on/off even with elastic.

So even if my current kitteny attempt is a failure, I've not given up on a short cotton nightgown, but I may change my style direction. I've got another Khalia Ali pattern in my collection #4277 and I have a cunning new plan. I'm going to make it wrap around (overlapping for the back) and instead of halter neck tie (oww on the neck) have the straps cross over.  That way I don't have to struggle with elastic underbust getting stuck on the boobage, and it should be comfortable enough to sleep in. With the short front bodice seam and underarm coverage I shouldn't fall out. That's an important factor given my main reason for needing a summer nightgown is for when travelling, just in case I sleepwalk. And twisted my ankle sometime on Friday night after I went to zzz and before I woke up. There's only 1 way to find out if this new plan is a good one and plenty of fabric in the stash.  Bring it on (after I get my Dr who costume made & a summer dress toile thrown together).

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Rayon in a bottle .. with fizz

I should have bought a bottle, instead I took a photo ...

coffee first, FBA 2nd

Yesterday I made it to my sewing guild group and the first thing I did was get a coffee.

The next was work on the simplicity blouse pattern I'm using for the Dr Who costume.  I marked the underbust seamline onto the back piece & cut across - I'm gathering the skirt onto the bodice before applying elastic.  I may also have to do a centre front placket onto the  skirt and have the front open properly - it's a mock opening on the pattern.  I need to get the bodice over the acreage and not struggle too badly.  I'll probably put a fastening on the elastic to hold it together. Dang, should have bagsed one while I was there.

This is the only mockup I'm doing, and you won't get a pic on me for the obvious - bingo arms and snow white tummy (with this years gall bladder surgery scars, even though small) don't need to be seen by the world.  Now the coverage across was enough, just, but there was too much underbust exposure (about 4cm).


 Below is the worlds dodgiest FBA (aka full bust alteration).  It's not typical of the ones I do, mainly cos I don't want a side-dart and equally I don't want massive spread if I folded the side dart out properly.  I need the extra across the high point of the bust, not at the underbust.  The spread is 5cm across, and the reason the bodice isn't lengthened at CF is that I'm not longer down the CF line, just over the Acreage of Boobage.  You can see that I've added another 4cm underneath, and I'm wanting to lower the neckline a centimetre or 2.


It's supposed to be a low-cut front, but it's not quite as low-cut on me as I want for this costume.  I think as there's more to cover that it's higher on my assets than on a smaller cuppage.  I think I made another woman at the sewing group choke when I said there wasn't much point in having a Vast Acreage of Boobage if I didn't display it occasionally.  I'm also thinking of slashing from shoulder point down & spreading across 1cm as it's a snuggish fit across. Hmm, I'm not making it screen accurate ie no lace at underbust seamline & no piped neckline. Mainly cos my fabric isn't striped, so why aim for that level unless it's in all things.

And a refresher of the costume I'm making - pic from

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Nightie progress: not feeling the love

I'm writing this as much to because I don't want to give the impression that things always go well - no matter how many years you've been sewing (38 for me) and how extensively it's not always a winning scenario. I once self drafted a kimono dressing gown using the 90cm width of my silk/cotton jacquard fabric as my starting point & a memory of my grandmothers 1920s/30s actual kimono dressing gown.

I'm not feeling as happy now as I did when I swanned around in that - when it was new and when it was near the end of it's life.

Last night I did laundry & some sewing - yayy for getting back into it. Though it's a tad demoralising that the first thing I sew has been ballsed up enough that I may not like it once it's done.  Here's my fix on the bodice ... you may or may not think it's hideous, but I do :(

I've not yet hemmed the arm opening, but I don't think that's going to magically change my mind.  It could be that once the skirt is attached and the waist sewn/elasticated that I might change my mind a little. But at this rate the new pink fabric isn't being turned into this nightmare. (

So far the skirt section is seamed, with the hem overlocked & ready to have the lace stitched onto the hem.

And hmm, having slept on it, the horror that's the fugly front may be improved by my removing the 2 vertical bits of lace.  That'll de-clunk it some.  I thought the lace would disguise the seam, but it's just advertising "hey, ugly fix! Come & look at it!!!"

Sunday, 10 November 2013

idea behind the blue trim (black 1799 gown)

I've been looking at what other colours are used with black in clothing of that time - where black is the dominant colour. I was disappointed to mainly find another black fabric (satin or velvet), or gold or white, neither of which really suit me. (gold especially).  I don't want to work with either satin or velvet so we can scratch those options. The only other one I've found has been in a couple of spanish garments, which have blue, for example this dress in the Museo Traje in Spain. (and I'm sure I'm spelling that wrong but need to put laundry away not spend another how down the rabbit hole of the interwebs.  They have a black jacket with similar blue so although I'm not making a spanish dress per se, it's my rationale for my choice.

In addition, there was a fashion plate on Lara Corsets of a bonnet of black & light blue.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

keeping myself honest about stashbusting

Okely dokely as Ned Flanders would say.

I'm trying to get my stash down to a specific number or less by the 31st of December this year, and my various ridiculous health problems have really impacted on my ability to do this.  Mind you it was the Evol Gallbladder that made me realise the stash had expanded past my ability for coping if I wasn't well.  Hence my decision to start reducing the stash each year til I get back to my old 'normal' of approx 400m. Which is still a large amount, but not so much for someone who costumes as well as makes 98% of their clothing.

In between actual sewing & giving fabric away, that's downsized 95m this year, however I've also bought 53m - a large chunk of which has been sewn already. 3 pieces still in the stash are long lengths for costumes (for example the 6m of black voile for my regency 1799 round gown).

So why am I mentioning this, well today I got a 2m piece of cotton to make another nightgown.

I've not given up on the kittens - I like the fabric and despite complaining I like the challenge of the puzzle (where puzzle = finding an effective solution).  But I also want to see how I can adapt it to something slightly different. After the PR tea some of us went to My Hung in Church St and I've eyed this fabric of for quite some time - it's cotton and I might not be able to wear it as street wear, but as a nightgown it's fine. In fact it's pre-washing right now to get rid of sizing, which I noticed as it foamed when I preshrank it.

So instead of being ahead, because of my weakness for fibre I've still got a target of 36m to sew in the next 8 weeks.  My Dr Who costume is 5m, the Decades of style negligee in the rest of the kitten print, and the existing kitten nightie is another 5m, today's buy is 2m, so there's a third of it down comparatively quickly.  I'm also going to mock up the 1970s wrap dress pattern using some monkey print knit (another 3m down!) and if that works use stashed rayon/cotton print knit for a work dress, another 3.7m.

The splodgey print cotton is another summer dress near the top of my list, 4m.   So already I'm up to 22m in 7 garments.  Leaving 14m.  hmmmm, I've 2 aprons to make (down to 12m) and another vintage dress which'll use 4m (8m balance). oooh and at least 2m mocking up bodices for the splodge and the other vintage dress pattern.

So per-maybe-haps I stand a fighting chance now that my knee is back in use for stairs & sewing (among other useful knee purposes requiring bending).

My knee has gone from this odd little (11mm diameter by 10mm deep) tumour
To this the day after surgery

To this 10 weeks after surgery, and the day physio & stretches began.

I'm looking forward to showing some real live finished items over the coming spring & summer (typically my more productive stitching time of year)

a chocolatey (and gluten free) high tea

Today I joined a few other PR members at Adora Handmade Chocolates in Parramatta to celebrate 12 years of Pattern Review
I remember when Deepika commented on a long defunct sewing forum (SewingWorld) that wouldn't it be great to have a website where you could see what others thought of patterns they'd made.  I was one of the earliest people to sign up and start posting, I'm such such a nerd/geek/dork and knew it was a great concept.  I also remember when it crashed nearly a year later and I had to sign up again.  I know not everyone finds it an easy site to navigate, but I remember when there wasn't anything like it at all ... other than a couple of sewing forums that weren't always effectively moderated and SewingWorld itself was known for crashing every year when the founder went on holiday.

Anyway enough reminiscing and onto the celebrations:

I was able to order a gluten free version and they apologised for not having any savoury items for me, and compensated with more chocolatey things.  They were all delicious, and I had a flavourful pot of Paris tea to go along with them. I only took a photo of my special plate, not the others as some of their sweets were different as well as having savoury pastry things.
I even managed to finish one of my older UFO's the Decades of Style matinee blouse (even though I'm not wildly happy with it)

I'm so glad that How good is that? organised it for us
And of course a group photo with everyone - L to R: lower your presser foot, The Sewing Space, R--, Petite and Sewing, On The Road to Sew Wear, R---, Sew Hopeful, J--, myself and How Good is That?.

Monday, 4 November 2013

4 Big Sleeps and I get my sewing knee back

Hurrah, I've been counting down the weeks until I get my right knee back to normal use ... which means no more up/down steps one-at-a-time, and the return of actual stitching content.

Funnily enough, the first weekend will include delivery of a new-to-me vintage treadle sewing machine. It's going into the storage room - which has no electricity - and I'll be able to do some stitching down there in a beautifully restored machine. The treadle table is a different vintage to the machine head, a delicious Singer 201k.

Since Friday I've been counting Big Sleeps until I remove the knee support and can sit on a bus, cinema or theatre seat. -happy dance- I've got an appointment with a physio on Friday after work, if you hear screams of pain (or more likely maniacal laughter) from Sydney CBD it's likely to be me. There are a couple of owwie spots that may produce it.

It will have been 10 weeks, and I'll celebrate it being over by also joining the Pattern Review afternoon tea in Parramatta.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

A plan to fix my cutting error

Today I got some elastic lace to fix my cutting error. It's not too wide, so won't fill in the neckline too much, but will cover up my fix.

My fix is to insert a bodice band across at CF, and if the elastic goes all around the neckline down to the under bust (with the band in between) and also runs around the hem, then the elastic at least looks intentional not bodgy.

I could only get a mid blue the pale was minty, and the pinks were too icky. The only white were very floral. So this was my best fix, and it serves me right for not reading the pattern properly in the first place.