Friday, November 26, 2010

Easy Breezy Cotton Top - With buttons!

I set out to make a simple cotton top with this white fabric. I was a little bit excited by the fact that taking a square piece of fabric could give you these cute little "sleeves". It was really simple to cut and put together the only thing that may have been difficult would be the placket. But being the cheater that I am I decided to make pretend button holes by doing a zig zag stitch in a straight line beneath where the button would sit. And hey it's not like I'm likely to unbutton it when I can pull it straight over my head right?

As it turns out I think it may well be very similar to the Port Elizabeth Top on BurdaStyle.

Oooh and I got to use buttons from my stash! That's 10 down 390 to go!

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

400 Buttons

In case you were wondering, this is what 400 buttons looks like.

Last week I found myself wandering through etsy when I found this amazing button store called beadic. I was originally just browsing for some wooden buttons to put on a cotton top but I fell in love and bought 10 of pretty much everything. And they were cheap too! I think the most expensive button here turned out to be about 50 cents Australian. Score!

Now I can't wait to make a whole lot of things just so I can put buttons on them!

Perhaps now I should learn to do buttonholes?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Copycat Singlet Top

Made by me
The original

I have this blue singlet top (on the right) that I love. I decided that seeing as I've made a whole one piece of clothing in cotton I'd totally be able to make this right? Furthermore I've also worked with elastic a whole one time in my life so doing that should be easy too right?

The short answer is yes I can do both of the above if I work on said singlet top over 4 days and put it aside every time I find myself wanting to stab the fabric with my unpicker.

Fortunately there is a happily ever after in this story.

I started by tracing the basic shape onto the fabric (I literally lay it out on the fabric I'm going to use and draw it straight on with chalk then cut on the chalked line - very professional of me I know but it works everytime!). Then I made the fake placket, sewed it on and hand sewed the buttons on. The ruffles, funnily enough, were actually the hardest part of the whole top because I don't have a serger so I couldn't just finish off the edges all nice and pretty that way. Instead I fiddled with scraps for aaaaaages until I found just the right zig zag setting to finish my edges which ended up working a treat once I'd found it. Then I sewed the ruffles on, sewed up the sides of the singlet top and set out to make myself some (non)bias tape from the same fabric. I say (non) bias simply because after inspecting the original top they had edged it with fabric that followed the grainline instead of going diagonally because the curve was so gradual it wasn't going to need much give (score!). I had some of the adjustable thingies for singlet top straps (technical term) that I had cut off tops I've just thrown out in The Big Wardrobe Purge of 2010. These were much less scary to work with than I thought. Not scary at all actually. Easy peasy. So once I'd edged the front of the top I folded over the top of the back piece about 1.5 centimetres (which I had made room for before cutting - I had a clever moment!) and stitched along to make the casing for the elastic. I fed the elastic through and sewed it in before hemming the top. The last step was to mark out where I wanted to elastic round the middle to go, cut a strip of fabric that long and sew it in before feeding the elastic through and voila!

One Copycat singlet top which I like a little bit more than the original now!

I even got fancy and put the straps in a V

This fabric really is purple, I promise.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Blue Ruffle Dress

Look what I made!
I seem to be smitten with this colour - so why not make a summer dress with it! I followed a similar process as the Purple Jersey Dress I made although this time I knew I wanted the ruffle to act as the strap across the shoulder as well which changed the neckline a little. Once I had that worked out though it was easy enough to sew up the sides, make a long continuous ruffle and play with the length until it sat right on the shoulders and voila!

This project also marks my first time using elastic. I got really brave and marked out where I wanted the elastic to be. I measured up the length and cut a strip about 3 centimetres wide that I sewed all the way around the interior (after edging it with my trusty pinking shears) then sewed it in. Getting the elastic in was fiddly because there was one section that was mysteriously much thinner than the rest of the fabric and meant it was the exact width of the elastic. It didn't want to let me feed it through but in the ensuing struggle I managed to win (hurrah!) and now the dress and I are at peace (double hurrah!). 

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Blue Singlet Top Knock Off

Old Navy
I found this great singlet top on Old Navy and spent some time thinking through what I'd need to do to make it myself. Especially since I have a considerable stash of lightweight jersey (in many colours). Seeing as this blue jersey was the leftovers after making another top I considered it a good sacrifice if it all went pear shaped.

I didn't have a pattern for it but somewhere in my mind it seemed do-able if I traced the basic shape from my Lydia pattern from BurdaStyle. I changed the neckline and made sure the back neckline sat higher than the front like in the picture. I made two ruffles and sewed them to the wrong side of the front piece and flipped them over so I'd have a nice seam across the neck. Then, getting all ambitious on myself, I decided I'd add some tie up straps instead.

Some thoughts on the process:
- I had to pin the ruffles on 3 separate times. Once because I had pinned the long ruffle onto the top before the small ruffle. The second time because I had attached both the short and long ruffle with the right side facing the right side of the front piece (which was going to mean my ruffles would sit on the inside of the top - problem much?). Turns out third time is lucky!
- I made the straps too wide - not that anyone else would notice - but details!
- The neckline of the top is way to bulky even after pressing it. I got a bit ahead of myself and sewed it altogether without thinking about clipping back the bulk along the neckline. It's now tucked away where I can't get to it to do anything about it.

Although considering I didn't really work from a pattern for the most part I'm pretty proud of how it turned out!

Friday, November 5, 2010

My Secret Weapon

Yesterday was a sad sewing day.

Don't get me wrong, I sewed all day. I played with fabrics I love. I started a new pattern. I revisited a pattern I had already used. I learnt to topstitch confidently. I had music on all day. And despite the rain outside, life was good. But then disaster struck.


Yes, Tension. It was wrong. I was sewing up another Wasp Bag and I had made almost the whole bag without a hitch. The topstitching wasn't quite as scary as I thought and the fabric was lovely. Unbeknownst to me though my bag was being savagely eaten by mounds of thread. Gasp!

Oh the horror!
Poor unsuspecting victim

I was disheartened to say the least.

I almost stopped sewing for the day. But then I thought No! It shall not go on like this. I shall stop sewing this particular nightmare of a project and attempt something else. That'll do the trick!

And then disaster struck.


This time I was sewing a Mini Tiered Dress from BurdaStyle with this gorgeous fabric - not even sure what it is - some sort of cotton silk or something? I had managed to make the entire top section and sew it all together. I had sewn together the top tier. I had ruffled it along the edge. I had pinned it in place. I had sewn it together only to realise.


I had sewn the right side of one piece to the wrong side of the other piece.


It's times likes these I'm glad I have a secret weapon.

Shhhhhh don't tell anyone!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Purple Ruffle Dress

I made a dress! I found this great dress made by a member of BurdaStyle here which inspired me to make one just like it. I found jersey in almost exactly the same colour (not because I'm a sewing stalker or anything) and set out to make my own pattern for it because she did too (I remind you again I'm totally not stalking). My neckline ended up a little differently because I wanted to do a wide ruffle to completely cover the straps of the dress. This was solely because I had run out of any more fabric to edge the armholes and so left them raw. And here you have it my first comfy summer dress. Hooray!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Wasp Bag

My week off has started! It has been most productive so far. Yesterday I cleaned out my wardrobe and threw out anything I haven't worn in the last 12 months including a whole box of shoes! While I was at it I stripped any nice buttons and zippers from things I was throwing out which boosted my stash a little.

Today I went fabric shopping. Hooray! I now have mounds of fabric and more than enough ideas for it all. The challenge remains to see whether I can actually get any of it done this week.

So my first project for the week was to try out a bag pattern I've had my eye on for a while. It's available as a pdf from here and it's called the Wasp Bag. I was inspired by a member of BurdaStyle's version of it which you can see here.

The pattern was really easy to follow and I already have plans to make another one in a different colour. I love this pattern!

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