International Anna Party 2015 

International Anna Party 2015 

I have a bit of a confession to make, whilst I had seen many lovely versions around the Internet I never really got what all the fuss was about when it came to the Anna, and to be honest I only purchased the pattern after By Hand London announced they where ceasing production of their paper patterns and thought that I should have a copy of it in my stash even just for posterity.


So when the lovely ladies Elle from Laura loves pugs , Ute and Pips from The girl in a teacup  announced an International Anna Party to celebrate both By Hand London and Elle’s pending birthday, I thought I’d give it a go. I originally planned to make my Anna in a lovely green vintage cotton blend from my stash, but during pre-wash the fabric fell apart. I was devastated and a little bit defeated but a quick trip to see the ever lovely ladies at quite possibly my favourite little fabric store The Drapery , saw me come away with 2m of some of the most scrummy Nani Iro double gauze and some new enthusiasm for The pattern.

I cut a straight US10/UK 14 and scooped the neck out around 5cm. A tissue fit saw me shorten the bust pleats about 3 cm in an attempt to avoid doing an FBA which seemed to work well. And grade the zipper around 5cm to account for my narrow shoulders, in hindsight I should have possibly done a sway back as well but will keep this in kind for next time. The dress is fully lined in some lovely oyster coloured silk from my stash which just feels devine. I also went with a gathered skirt over the included one, the dress was then finished of with an exposed metal zipper in an attempt to avoid the Nani Iro getting caught in an invisible zipper.

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Then to top off my Anna initiation. I won a prize of 2 of the most gorgeous screen printed Lithuanian linen tea towels from bells and bee for my Anna as Magdalenesmuse’s favourite modified Anna. one of which now watches over me while I sew.


It’s safe to say I’m officially an Anna convert and can’t wait to add some more to my wardrobe.

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By hand London Sophia dress

By hand London Sophia dress

Here we are in July already! Where has this year gone? Between a birthday almost every weekend for the last couple of months and my recent sewing rut, there hasn’t been time or even a lot I’ve really felt like blogging about.

But, then there was Sophia.

If you don’t know, the Sophia Dress is from the fabulous ladies over at By hand London, With a sleeveless V-neck bodice complete funky angled bodice darts and armholes, 2 skirt variations, a super twirly vintage inspired panel and godet version and also a sleek fitted skirt with a centre front split. There is even a super cute collar option. it definitely lives up to its description of a versatile party dress.

I had originally planned to make up version one, the vintage twirly skirt skirt version minus the collar, in some gorgeous Michael miller spring fling print but chickened out when I couldn’t decide what to do with the godets in the skirt. I don’t have enough of the main fabric so they will need to be contrast, I just can’t decide with what. I’m still considering using the gold confetti boarder print I posted on Instagram, but need to sit on it for a while.

While still pondering my Sophia dress, I came across this checked cotton sateen at spotlight on sale for $5 a metre. Ever since my black and white Emery dress I have been on the hunt for a similar print so snapped this up quick smart & a new Sophia plan was hatched!

Being a cotton sateen, I knew that my dreams of a twirly vintage style skirt would have to go, but wasn’t sold on the straight skirt version of the dress. I like sleek and fitted but with little ones to chase after its not the most practical choice, so once again I was pondering my skirt options. I started shifting through my pattern stash looking for some inspiration and it hit me in the form of another of By Hand London’s fabulous creations, the Kim dress and it’s beautiful wrap skirt Hallelujah! A Fitted silhouette with a little more room to move, the perfect solution for my Sophia.

With the skirt dilemma finally sorted (YAY!) It was on to construction. I cut a straight Us10/UK14 in both the bodice and skirt. A tissue fit of the bodice showed I needed to shorten the straps about 2cm and also do a sway back adjustment of 2.5cm at the zip graded to nothing at the sides. for once I didn’t have to do any adjusting at the bust thankfully as I wouldn’t have a clue where to start on this one.

With Both patterns being from By Hand London it meant that the skirt fit to the bodice out of the packet beautifully. The Kim skirt did require some altering in the way of tapering of the side seams to fit my less than ample hips and almost a 5cm grade at the zipper to accommodate my flat behind, that right there is the reason I normally avoid fitted skirts damn you flat behind!

Because I am no 6ft tall Glamazonian (is that even a word) I also shortened the skirt by around 5cm, this was at the hem on the back pieces and just below the dart on the front pieces. If I where the make it again I may consider taking a further cm or so off. I haven’t lined the skirt, but it’s winter here at the moment,and I’m living in tights under dresses, so there is a very good chance that I’ll be going back and lining the skirt, but I’ll will need to do a test wear to see how much it annoys me first😉

Sewaholic Cambie Dress

Sewaholic Cambie Dress

Well if nothing I like a tight deadline it seems.
With less than 24 hours left of dress week for indie pattern month, I decide I’m going to get sewing on the Mickey Mouse Cambie dress I had planned to get my sewjo back.

The pattern is an all time favourite, and I believe a perfect silhouette for any novelty print, the Cambie Dress from Sewaholic in view B. The fabric is some Mickey Mouse quilting cotton from my local spotlight, plus some red poplin for contrast from the stash. The dress is also lined in plain white poplin also from the stash.

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Modifications made, include a 1inch FBA, a shortened bodice, and I also used a self drafted quarter circle skirt for the lining to avoid the additional bulk the recommended gathered version adds. Contrast trim added to skirt hem to help balance out the print a little. Lapped zipper, I also left out the pockets to save some time, but I can already tell I’m going to regret it and will probably go back at a later date and add them in.

For a super quick make, I’m so happy with how it has come together. I love every single Cambie dress I make, but I think this might be a new favourite. I especially love the contrast trim on the hem.

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Branson top

Branson top

Recently, I was lucky enough to be a pattern tester for Lily Sage and Co’s latest pattern, The Branson Top.

Lately, I’ve come to the realisation that with winter coming I need more practical things in my wardrobe. Also Lily Sage and Co was one of my earliest inspirations to start sewing so when Debbie put out the call for testers for her latest top pattern I jumped at the chance.

The Branson Top is a loose fitting button front top with some great details, like the semi fitted peplum back and a great front tie that really finishes it off. It als comes in both a sleeveless and long sleeve variation.

For the pattern test, I shopped my stash, and used a polyester crepe de chine that was purchased from spotlight with the intentions of being a button front shirt, so it was a bit of a no brainer.
I made The Branson Top in view A, this view only has 4 main pattern pieces and come together quick and easily, the instructions are easy to follow and has some great tips for finishing of the bias binding (which where a great help to me and I have very little experience it). My favourite part though, is that Debbie has taken all the hard work out for us bigger busted ladies and included a bigger bust front pattern piece so no FBA is needed YAY!
This is such a great pattern, & I highly recommend you check it out. I can see many more in my wardrobe including a lengthen shirt dress Version.

Alice in Wonderland dress

Alice in Wonderland dress

image I love nothing more than sewing up a pretty dress for any occasion, and my birthday is no exception. Since I spent my 30th last year in a car for 5 hours after a week long camping trip on Fraser Island.  This year I had grand plans for my 31st Birthday celebrations, and wanted a fabulous dress to go with it. The plans have since been scaled back due to my laziness in organising anything but the dress, well I still aimed for fabulous, I tend to overdress for most occasions so why should my birthday be any different.
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The dress is esentially a  By Hand London Kim dress but with darts instead of princess seams. This has fast become one of my favourite dress patterns.

Alice in wonderland
Alice in wonderland

The Fabric is an amazing Alice in Wonderland print from beautiful work on etsy I first saw this print on a RTW dress which I very nearly purchased but unfortunately they sold out before I had the chance, so when I saw the fabric online I snapped up 4m without a second thought and 5 days  later it was on my door step ready to go.

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I wanted to attempt to convert the princess seams to darts, so that the diamond print would be complete accross the bodice. I could find plently of information for darts to princess seams, but nothing for the other way. So I winged it. I grabbed my ever faithful emery dress bodice,  and traced off the botttom half. Next I trimmed the seam allowance from Kim’s front bodice pieces and taped them together at the neckline. Finally, I lined Kim up to my traced off Emery and traced the neckline and straps. I used kims bodice back, unfortunately, I didnt really have enough fabric (or paitence) to match up the back seams. 
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On my muslin, the fit was pretty spot on,  but in my finished dress there was a bit of gaping at the neckline, I added a couple strategically placed darts at the neckline and the problem was solved.With the skirt, I didnt want to break the border print with side seams so I cut it in one continuous 3m length, then I  pleated by using every second diamond as a guide, by some miricle this actually worked and ended up lining up perfectly with my bodice YAY!

Alice in wonderland

The dress is lined in plain white voile, I had originally wanted to use something more exciting for the lining maybe something in a blue to match the Alice theme, but since I already broke my fabric buying ban for the main fabric, I thought it best to stick to the stash. No one else is really going to see the insides anyway are they?

It may not be perfect, and I dont doubt  there is a better way to convert the princess seams but I love it non the less, now wheres that birthday cake?

Deer and Doe Datura

Deer and Doe Datura

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Anyone who follows me on instagram would know Im a dress girl through and through, I love nothing more than sewing up a pretty dress or two. 

But with my first Me Made May fast approching, the reality is, I needed some tops in my wardrobe. As much as I love making and wearing dresses they are not all that I wear, mainly because they not always practical when chasing around 2 kids under 5 years old.

Enter Deer and Doe’s Datura blouse, I wanted a sleevless some what fitted top that could easily be dressed up or down and this pattern fit the bill perfectly.
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The pattern had been sitting in my  stash since I purchased it on a whim from a fantastic little independant fabric store The Drapery here in Adelaide. I was initally put off by the advanced label on the pattern, but after I sat down and had a look at it I realised that this was possibly because of scarcity of the instuctions, as much as I love Deer and Doe patterns, there instuctions are certainly aimed at more experienced sewists.
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wearble muslin
My first version, I made up in amazing cloud9 geometric print voile that I broke my fabric ban for. The fabric is a little on the sheer side so to combat this I underlined it in a plain white voile.

As it was my first I followed the limited instructions with the exception of collar or cut outs and made no other alterations. The fit was ok, but it felt a little on the short side and the bust darts sat a little high.

The second version, I made up once again in a voile, this time from one of my favourites, Miss Matatabi fabrics on etsy.
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the insides of version 2
I gave up on the instructions mostly for this one, I couldnt get the shoulder seams to work right and instead, I added a seam allowance and cut the bodice back in 2 pieces instead of on the fold, this means I now have a centre back seam but its not something that bothers me so I dont mind. I also added roughly an inch to my pattern piece above the bust darts, this in turn fixed both the length and dart height I didn’t like in my first version. 

 And finally my third, is made up in some drapey checked and plain black polyester from my local spotlight, I made this one the same way as my second version complete with french seams (mainly because my overlocker currently has white thread in it, and I didnt feel like changing it haha) and buttonholes.
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french seams and buttonholes

Im still going to need some more tops in my wardrobe, but these are a start. I really like the cut and the button detail of these. And they are sure to be on high rotation for those days a pretty dress just wont cut it.

Well there goes the Internet.

Well there goes the Internet.

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Well here we are, my very first blog post, I must admit I’m a little excited to be joining the blogosphere, and more so, having somewhere to document my sewing adventures. 

 Well where do I start, Im Suzanne, a mother, a wife and over the last few years, Ive become a little obsessed with sewing pretty things. 

 

   As for my sewing journey, I never really paid attention in home economics at school. So it was no surprise that when I got my first sewing machine almost 10 years ago, I took it out of the box, realised I had no idea what I was doing, packed it back up and left it sitting neglected in a cupboard for the next 7 years.

 Then my daughter was born. I was on 12 months maternity leave (unpaid) and I couldn’t justify spending a fortune on cute clothes she would just grow out of. I decided it was time to dust it off and try again. Armed with a pattern and some cheap clearance fabric, off I went. 

 

My first make from a vintage kids jiffy pattern. 

 A year or so later I made my first dress for myself, it was a mess, but I was hooked and began my obsession with sewing.  then the beginning of 2014, about 6 months after that first dress, I started to post my makes on my Instagram and from there I have been welcomed with open arms in to the amazing online sewing community I have learnt so much and been so inspired by every single post, and while I’m still terrified of button holes and am clueless at adjusting patterns,  I am learning something new and gaining confidence with every project and every blog post I read. Who knows, there may be button holes and FBAs in my future yet.  

 

My first year of sewing for me

 So thats it,  my first post and a little about me. Feel free to introduce yourself and please share your blogs with me too.

Suzanne.