Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The Spanish Dress

More unseasonably hot Sydney weather has lead to more UFO's being finished so I have something to wear! (My off season clothes are stored at my Mum's). I only started this dress a few weeks ago, but this burst of spring heat led me to madly finish it off last night to wear today.

The fabric for this dress is a special one. Last year, my best friend went to Spain and brought this back for me. I am making her a skirt, and I got the leftover yardage to play with. I decided to go with a dress, as the colour is not something I would usually wear, and I didn't think it would get too much wear as separates.

The pattern is a mash up of two of my favourites: Simplicity 2444 for the bodice, and Simplicity 6862 (the amazing one metre skirt pattern) for the bottom. The fabric is quite stiff, so I decided a flared skirt would do nicely; it certainly has a lot of body.

This was a very quick and simple make: the zip is handpicked, the neckline is faced, and the armholes and hem are finished with bias tape. I love the shape of this; it's definitely one I'd like to try again.

I've paired it up here with my white sandals and pearls thanks to some styling advice from Mum; it's such a good summery combination (even if it is meant to be winter).

So this is another successful dress which I will get a lot of wear out of come summer. I wore it today to my new job; I am teaching at the university's ancient history museum, so I had a fun morning grossing kids out with Egyptian mummies.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Butterick 5281 The Wearable Muslin

Hello again! I have missed blogging here. I have been knee deep in sewing since I last posted, but mysteriously I do not seem to be completing garments to share- the sirens call of cutting out a new project is sometimes too hard to resist. I feel I must soon do another UFO finishing spree. I have been posting a lot over on Instagram though if you follow me there.

Back in April I posted about not making my graduation dress due to running out of time! At this stage the muslin was basically finished (besides the hem) but with winter bearing down on Sydney, I put the dress to one side. Yesterday was an incredibly warm day, so the night before I pulled out the dress, and quickly finished it off, so I could have a chance to wear it. This dress is great. The pattern fits fantastically, it's so comfortable, and I got a lot of compliments, which I think is always a good thing when you're trying out a new silhouette. I am now getting more excited about making my LBD version.

The pattern is Butterick 5281, a 1946 reproduction, and therefore is also part of this years vintage pledge. The fabric is an IKEA bedspread cover I found opshopping, and was also used as the wearable muslin for my Smooth Sailing blouse.

I didn't have to make extensive changes to the pattern- I cut the bodice as a 12, and the skirt as a 14, which I have to do with slim skirts. I also took a good deal of length out of the bodice, but this is a standard alteration. If you are making this pattern, definitely muslin it. The bodice especially has a lot of subtle detail, and it's fully lined, including the sleeves. For this version, I didn't line the skirt, but that was to do with running out of lining fabric!

I have included the line drawing here so you can get a good idea of the pattern, I was very much drawn to the asymmetrical style lines; although the dress is a typical 1940's silhouette it makes it quite unique.

This is definitely going to be a pattern I use a lot, the dress is incredibly wearable, and I can see it easily becoming a favourite summer dress.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

The Last of the Bridesmaid Dress Fabric: Smoothsailing Blouse

 I finished this blouse a few weeks ago, and am so excited to share it with you!

When I bough the fabric for my bridesmaid dresses, I bought ten metres of this great green and pink floral cotton, for $60. From it I managed to make three bridesmaid dresses, a full skirted M6696, and now this Wearing History Smooth sailing blouse. The fabric is now all used up, except for scraps, which will find their way into little projects. Five garments from one fabric purchase must be setting the record for frugal sewing!

The Smooth Sailing blouse is now my go to blouse pattern. My wearable muslin turned out so well, I didn't make any more alterations. For reference, I swapped out the sleeve for the one from M6696.

The buttons are a nice ivory colour I found at the local fabric shop, love how they blend in. I had a lot of trouble doing the buttonholes, til I realised I hadn't popped in any interfacing! It's easy to forget when there is no separate button band. After ripping out two or three wonky button holes Ijust put a little piece of interfacing behind each button hole, and then they went in perfectly. Was so relieved it wasn't my machine mucking up on me.

The skirt here is another recent make, but it doesn't deserve it's own blog post. The pattern is vintage Simplicity 6862, my perfect skirt pattern, and it's made from a nice black polyester like fabric. My RTW go to flared black skirt didn't sit on my waist, so this very simple skirt is now my most worn wardrobe piece. I bought a lot more of this fabric, and am going to make a basic black pencil skirt soon.

And how did I go with Me Made May? Not as well as I would have liked. The weather here in Sydney is unnaturally warm at the moment, so most of the month was my general mix of handmade dresses and blouses, a good few which I documented on Instagram. I didn't get to test out my winter wardrobe as I would have liked to. It was good to see though that my summer wardrobe is 90% me made. I also didn't get my winter sewing done due to time constraints, but hoping to get to that in the next few weeks.

I will hopefully have some more items to share in the coming days; I am using this small stint of warm weather to photograph some other finished summer items.

What have you been sewing lately? Have you ever made more than one item with the same fabric?

Sunday, 1 May 2016

A Half Shirt Dress

A few weeks ago I found this lovely floral  fabric at the opshop. It seems to have been a dirndl skirt that had the waistband taken off, so there was a lot of fabric to work with. When deciding what to make, I went with my favourite dress pattern McCalls 6696, as it just fits so well, and I love a shirt dress. I shook it up though by turning the pattern into a half shirt dress- one that only buttons to the waistband, and closes with a side zip. I used this great tutorial by Idle Fancy as a guide. If you love a good shirt dress, do check out Mary's blog, she's the one who converted me to McCall's 6696.

The other slight change I made was to not have a working button band. I simply sewed on the buttons, and ensured I left enough room to get it over my head. I've just popped in a safety pin to ensure the neckline sits neatly.

I love the details that go into a shirtdress, I hand sew all the insides, which can take a while, but I got this dress churned out in about a week, I think I just very much wanted to wear !

This photograph probably gives the best idea of the true colour. The Burda pattern was my first choice, but in the end I wanted a quick make without the challenge of pattern fitting.
McCall's 6696 both days so far. I will try to be doing daily Instagram pictures, but my iPad charger is playing up, so it will probably be weekly blog round ups. I have a lot of almost finished garments lined up as well, so there should be a lot more to share over the coming weeks

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Changing plans

On Friday I am graduating from university. I had been planning for a while to make a little black dress for the ceremony using B5281, a very elegant reproduction vintage pattern from 1946. Last night, I scrapped this plan and will be wearing another dress I made last year instead.

I have always been someone who enjoys taking on large, complicated projects, and I immerse myself in them. I even get everything done on time. But this time I decided I needed to take a step back, and remind myself that it's okay if I don't follow through this once. I got to the stage of having the wearable muslin finalised, and the went to bed last night, and started scheming how I could fit sewing a fully lined crepe and silk dress in four days around university, assignments and work.
 When I started panicking over needing to thread trace all the darts and tucks due to the black fabric, and realising slippery fabric is horrible to cut, I decided to call it off. Actually, I'll be wearing one of those academic gowns, so it won't matter what I am wearing to a great extent. Not enough to need to sweat over a new dress. I am in love with this pattern. The details on it are exquisite, and I have bought the most gorgeous fabric for it. I want to take my time and ensure I have a really well made dress at the end of the process. A good LBD will become a proper wardrobe staple in time. I'll be graduating again next year anyway from masters! I am very relieved I can have some breathing space this week, and am looking forward to getting stuck into this dress when I have the proper time to devote to it

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Me Made May

This year I am really excited to give Me Made May a go. I've really enjoyed following along for the last few years, and reading people's thoughts on their wardrobes, and how they fit into their life. This is the first year though I feel I have enough handmade/ altered clothes to take part. I am also now trying to think more cohesively about how to develop my wardrobe along more vintage lines. I am not going to say I will wear handmade every day though. My sewing at the moment skews towards summer, and here in Australia May is the month the temperatures start to go down, so climate wise what I'm wearing each day will be a bit hit and miss. This will  hopefully though be a good chance to make more winter clothes (wool pencil skirts and long sleeved blouses.

I, Kaitlyn, (, @kaitlynssimplyvintage) sign up as a participant of Me Made May 2016. I endeavor to wear at least one handmade/refashioned item a minimum of four days a week. I also aim to complete three pieces of winter appropriate clothing by the end of the month.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Forays into corporate wear

Last year, when still decided what I was going to do with the completion of my undergraduate idea, I had an interview for a corporate like job. Having very little suitable in the way of office attire, I set out to make an interview worthy dress in a week. I completed it, and when getting dressed that morning, broke the zipper. I went to the interview, didn't get the job (thankfully) and the dress lagged in the mending pile until my UFO January blitz. The other week I realised I still hadn't worn the dress, and decided if not now, then when? Luckily uni is a good time to play around with more formal attire.

The fabric is a gingham cotton, which is probably not the best type for this sort of dress, as it crinkles easily. (picture taken after a long morning in the library). I also fully lined it in a plain white cotton, so it probably won't work with pantyhose. This doesn't bother me too much. It's surprisingly a very comfortable dress.

The bodice and sleeves are Simplicity 2444, whilst the pencil skirt/waistband is Vogue 1989, a 1980's wardrobe pattern. I cut the skirt quite long and pegged it. There is a lined kick pleat at the back.

I am very pleased with some of the smaller details on this dress. I fully lined the bodice using this method which worked really well. My favourite part though is the hand picked zipper. Not only did I match the gingham, I made the pick stitching a decorative feature. I love little details like these.

I actually quite like this dress, its a break from the usual for me, but I think it turned out well for a first attempt. I got a good number of compliments on it over the day, which I took as a good sign. And this is a really comfortable dress, so that is a major bonus. Because I think tights will cling to the lining, it should be a summer only dress, but you have to wear it with heals. As my black heels need a trip to the cobbler, I wore this with my absolute favourite red t straps. I love red and black together, so it set off the outfit well.

I'm thinking of making more formal wear pices this year; I quite like the sheath dress look, and I have plans for more pencil skirts and blouses. It won't be all black and grey and white though. Seeming as I'm training to work in the museum/heritage sector, I think I can keep the formal, but fun clothes going for a good while