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Friday, September 13, 2013

Colette Violet - 1015 - Variation

Here is the first one I sewed. I sewed this one shortly after, making some alterations. I thought the sleeves would be cute with gathers, and I changed the rounded peter pan collar to a pointed style peter pan (or, flat pointed, I think they are called).

First, this just shows the bust adjustment i made, taking up the extra slack in the side bust dart. I didn't need to make the whole thing wider, as most FBAs show you to. I don't know if this is proper, but it's what I did.

Then I made a simple sleeve cuff, cutting a 4" wide strip, by the circumference of my upper arm. I wanted it snug, but not tight. Iron the piece lengthwise in half, and then turn in each outside length towards the middle, and iron again. Sew your piece together, at each end, making a ring. For the sleeves, I just altered the pattern by adding more length at the shoulder line of the sleeve, ie. a bigger curve at the top of the shoulder, and a wider circumference at the hem of the sleeve.. I sewed a practice to get the angles right. Sew long stitches in the cuff part of the sleeve inside your seam allowance to gather later.

I attached the cuff, right sides together, and pulled up the gathers in my sleeve to fit the cuff.

Sew the seam of the cuff to the sleeve along the line you ironed, and then turn your cuff back the right way, 

Then I top stitched the cuff in place, catching the inner fold of the cuff (so i didn't need to hand stitch it in place.)


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Butterick B5814

Finally got the guts to try out this pattern. Gertie's pattern for Butterick, the B5814. Being a full-figured girl, I was a little nervous about the neckline. I have cleavage in a turtle neck, pretty much. I tend to be 3 different sizes, depending on the pattern. One size each for chest, waist & hips. I used to hate to alter the patterns, but now I am beginning to not mind the process. I find that if I just be patient, I enjoy the process. Same with sewing. I used to be impatient for the final product, where now I do it slowly, and make sure I do it right.

I sewed my first muslin with just a little added to the sides, tapered back down to the waist, so I could see how much I needed to alter, hoping it wouldn't BE much... It fit, but not nicely. I could stuff myself in, but you couldn't see the lovely details of the bodice.

Second muslin was better, but not perfect. I did a full bust adjustment (FBA) but it wasn't enough. I marked on my muslin where I wanted everything to sit, and went back to my pattern. In all, I added a side dart to both sides, and enlarged the front dart. I also added 2" of length to be taken up in part by that side dart. I increased the size of each of the gathers on the front piece, so as to allow for the lack of a front dart. I also changed the angle of where those gathers sat, as now things had shifted a bit. I ended up making quite a few changes! More than any other pattern ever. And it's still not perfect, but pretty close. I suppose I am my own worst critic, so I see wrinkles and gathers that I don't like, but no one else will likely notice.  I also had the same problem as Gertie of the sleeves not staying put, so I did adjust the angle of the sleeve where it's sewed to the bodice. I also had to change the bust point, and move the darts too. I think in all, I must have sewn 5 or 6 muslins. Some all from scratch, and others with minor changes. I didn't bother with a skirt muslin, as there was enough ease for me to be comfortable to just sew it. I also moved the drape over, so you can see the gathers in the skirt more clearly. It took me longer to draft new pattern pieces than it did for me to sew the damn thing!

But the sewing process was so lovely! I chose a wool blend in a grey-ish brown with lighter coloured flecks. I'm in love with the material. It's heavy, but not too thick. It has a slight bit of stretch, but that is taken care of with the dress being fully lined. I bought the material before I had the pattern, just waiting for the perfect moment to use the fabric. I did find the drape in the pattern to be almost impossible to sew through, but I did it... Did anyone else have problems? Maybe my material was a little thicker than I thought.

I also did the stabilizing that Gertie recommends. I might have not thought to do this, so I am glad I read through Gertie's posts. I also added tiny little bra stays (just snaps sewn to a piece of ribbon, so i could keep my straps hidden under the sleeves.

I used these other blog posts as guidelines for my process:

I had some fun with make-up too. Love the Stila Liquid liner.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Jack Pesch Rocket

I got myself a gorgeous vintage bicycle a few years ago for my birthday. A Jack Pesch Rocket. The plan all along was to restore it, and I finally finished it! Well, it's almost finished. Plans change a little along the way sometimes...

I bought the bike for about $80 on ebay. It was completely working, and in fairly good shape. Not 100% sure on when my bike was made, but because the grips are plastic and the seat was vinyl, I would think 60's or 70's. The thing that makes me think it might be older is that the bike came with dress guards attached to the rear fender. The builder was a local bike racer from Brisbane. It looks like he used a generic frame, and built the bicycles in his shop in brisbane anywhere from the 30's to the 90's. There is very little info online about his bicycles. I'd love to look in a local library or something.

Fairly soon after getting the bike, I cleaned the chain, got new cranks ($20), new Schwalbe Delta Cruiser tires & tubes ($50), new handlebars ($25) and a new Gyes Saddle ($76). The handlebars are exactly the same as the original, and I put the original grips back on. I also bought a Papillionaire basket ($24). I soaked the rims in acid and scrubbed them up really nice. Rims in this specific size are almost impossible to find, and expensive. I thought I would get as much use out of them before I buy new ones ($50 each).

I LOVE the original waterslide decals. But I didn't like the two-tone blues of the paint on the frame. I tried my hardest to match the original paint, so I could refinish the forks and fenders myself, leaving the frame with the decals. But seriously, a good quality paint in that blue became impossible to find. Even when I found something promising, the supplier was so unreliable, I gave up. I called him SO many times. After riding the bike as is for a year, the waterslides began to flake off; you can't even see the gorgeous red rockets that used to be on the downtube. Sadly, I made the decision to go ahead and just get the entire frame powdercoated. I looked for colours online, and then called around to see what brands my local powdercoaters stocked. They sandblasted and powdercoated the frame, forks, fenders & chain guard for $120!! I got a good deal because they took FOREVER. But that was fine with me!

So, now I think the only thing missing is those original waterslides. I've seen them on ebay before, but lost to another bidder. I've been waiting around to see if some come up. Otherwise, I might try and paint the original design myself, or just get some pin-striping done, and a headbadge.  I went out a few months ago and took some photos of the bike as it is now.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Kitty Cat

I've been wanting to make a little softie now for yonks (do only Aussies say that?... I would never say that out loud...but typing it seems to work :) ). My niece is now at that age, about 2 years, where I can make her things, and where she might actually look at it for a few minutes before getting her 'MatMan' figurines instead (she loves her Batman toys from her Dad's childhood collection). And who I am I kidding, it's going to be a dog toy in less than a week knowing their sneaky pup. Neither of which I care about since I enjoy making things regardless of where they end up. I know my niece LOVES kitties too...though I won't spell out what she actually calls starts with a T.

I found this adorable pattern online, which I altered, which I suggest that you don't bother to alter (I wanted round ears)! It's a perfectly simple pattern, that is so cute, I want to make one for myself! I can't find my original photos I took. This photo is from my instagram feed. If I ever find the originals, I will add them.

I'm a little slow in blog posts lately. I've had a rough year, and just didn't feel like myself. But I think I am getting back on track, and hope to keep this little blog going. I have a handful of dresses, a blouse or two, and pair of shorts to share with you soon. I'd like to start talking more about how I alter my patterns. I usually need to adjust every pattern to fit, and when I do research, it's hard to find what others have done. Maybe this will help other women who are shaped more like me to get ideas, or just see what someone else has done to get a better fit.


Friday, November 23, 2012


We've had some stormy weather lately, and after all these years, I finally took my camera out to get some photos. Normally, the storm is upon us fast enough that the rain is here at the same time, but last weekend the storm was far enough away in all directions that we were in the middle with no rain. It was perfect for taking photos. Unfortunately, the lightning was so intense, and I didn't always have the camera settings right, and so many of my photos were completely blown out. There was sheet lightning continually going overtop of me, so any shots of far away lightning were overpowered by the sheet lightning above me. But I still managed to get a few good ones. Night photography is my favorite because of the colours that show up when you look at the film later. I had two night in a row of these storms, and I will try and go out more often from now on.


Cream Cheese Brownies

These were so good. Make them. Recipe here