Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Sew Over It Lulu Dress (version 1)

Shortly after coming back from summer holidays, my favourite fabric store in Singapore (Sing Mui Heng) had a big sale...this coincided perfectly with my fingers itching to get back to sewing, and a friend who asked if I'd sew a few things for her. So off we went...and came back a little lighter in our wallets and weighed down with MUCH more than we intended to get. Isn't that always the way?!

My first finished item from this spree was the Sew Over It Lulu Dress.

It was a fun and relatively straightforward project, taking about 2 hours of sewing time in total (maybe less). I made a size 10 at the bust, moving out to a 12 at the waist and hips. Overall the fit is fine, but there's a strange 'bubble' just above my bust, below the neck notch. I can't quite determine why I have this bubble, but will keep trying to solve the problem before my next one. The sleeves are also a tiny bit snug just at the top of the armhole, so I might reduce the seam allowance a bit around the sleeves to see if that solves the issues. Otherwise, it's really comfortable to wear and looks great with a belt. 

My next Lulu top is for a friend. I should make a muslin, but I think I'll forge ahead with the first top and keep my fingers crossed that there aren't any major fit issues!

Pattern: Sew Over It Lulu Dress
Size: 10-12
Fabric: Art Gallery Fabrics (cotton)

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Colette Sorbetto tank with pin tucks

Last summer, while drooling over sale fabrics in Liberty of London, I picked up a three 1-metre pieces of tana lawn. Two were used for my Grainline Studio Lakeside Pajamas, and one sat in my stash, waiting for inspiration.

Inspiration hit about 3 days before we left for our summer holidays. I had just enough to make the Colette Sorbetto tank, and decided to add pin tucks down the centre. I liked the look of the sleeveless top on the Guthrie & Ghani website. Instead of modifying the basic pattern, as she suggests, I decided to sew the pin tucks into the fabric first, and then cut the top from the pin-tucked fabric. This works well if you want the pin tucks to go all the way down to the hem.

Colette patterns has re-issued the Sorbetto tank pattern with modified sizing, but I used the original pattern since it fits me pretty well. It doesn't appear that the original Sorbetto is still available online (it's a free download), but maybe I haven't looked hard enough. 

The only modification I made was to add 1/4" to the shoulders at the neckline (and remove a corresponding 1/4" at the armhole side) - I find all Colette and Seamwork patterns are too wide on my shoulders. 

I love sewing with cotton lawn. It's the perfect weight for clothing in Singapore, and doesn't wrinkle nearly as badly as linen. It's hard to find nice lawn in Singapore, so the few pieces I bought in London were treasured!

Pattern: original Colette Sorbetto tank with pin tucks
Size: 6, with adjustments at shoulders
Fabric: Liberty Tana Lawn (1 metre piece)*

*For some mysterious reason, Liberty of London puts giant stickers on their 1m remnant pieces in the sale bins. The glue on the stickers is REALLY hard to get off fabric, even with washing. 

Oliver + S Hopscotch Top v.2

In the midst of packing for our 4-week summer vacation in Canada, I decided to 'quickly' sew up a t-shirt for my niece (as you do when you should be packing!!). My sister-in-law and niece visited us in Singapore in May, and she bought some fabric so I could make a few things for her daughter. First up, a Hopscotch t-shirt.

Based on a previous version, I know this fits a bit small (particularly in length), so I made a size 2 with size 3 length. L is petite, but hopefully this will fit for a while. I had about 1/2 a yard, and just managed to squeeze out the long-sleeved version in this size.

I also used twill tape at the shoulders and the yoke seam, instead of interfacing. The tape was probably a bit wide, but otherwise worked well.

Pattern: Oliver + S Hopscotch t-shirt, size 2 (with size 3 length)
Fabric: not sure! A light-medium weight 95% cotton knit

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

A bit of block printing

One course in screen printing (with a bit of block printing)


An unexpected trip to India where lovely teak wood blocks are available relatively easily (and for good prices)


The decision to give emigrating friends a handmade gifts by which to remember us



2 table runners and 2 sets of 6 coasters


2 happy friends (we hope!)

Blocks from Block Beauty in Bangalore, India (they do accept online orders, and I think they ship overseas)
Paint - Speedball fabric paint

Friday, 5 May 2017

Made by Rae Bianca Dress

Here's how my sewing sometimes works:
1) Find some amazing fabric. Cannot resist buying it, but not sure what it'll be used for. Buy some (between 1m and 2.5m), hoping it'll be enough for something.
2) Wash it, and put it in stash. Gaze at it every so often, wondering what to do...
3) Spend far too long on the internet, independent pattern sites and Pinterest, looking for inspiration.
4) Several months (or years) later, find the PERFECT pattern, and the rest is history.

This dress has a similar history, except the fabric was a gift from a good friend who had the opportunity to spend a morning in the Mangaldas Market in Mumbai (so jealous!) and brought it back for me after I told her about my latest obsession with indigo dyes. And it only spent a few months in my stash, not years.

I have also spent a LOT of time checking out Made by Rae patterns, looking at other people's makes online (the researcher in me can't help it - all decisions need evidence behind them!), and wondering if the style would suit me. I took the plunge with the Bianca pattern:

I managed to squeeze the dress length out of the fabric I had. I also did the external facing, and cut the facing piece on the bias. The contrast isn't quite as dramatic as I'd hoped, but if you look closely, you can see the difference. Okay, maybe only I can! I made it in an afternoon and part of the evening (with significant interruptions from children, making dinner, etc. etc.). So not only is it fun to make, it's a quick sew too!

I was worried the style would be too 'maternity-like' on me, but I think this fabric has enough drape that it doesn't tent out too much under the elastic. It's a fairly thin cotton, so I did interface the facing pieces. I also used the elastic casing, rather than attempting shirring for the first time. 

Having worn it for a few hours, I can attest to the comfort and ease of wearing. And it's a perfect weight for the hot and humid days we're having. (Wait...that would be how it always is!)

My only issue was with the dye coming off on my fingers as I sewed (despite having pre-washed it). Hopefully this will become less of an issue after a few more washes. 

I'm inspired to make more tops with this pattern, and already have a request from a friend to make it with long sleeves. Maybe I'll even try the Washi dress/top next!

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Sew Over It Doris Dress

I have spent a very long time checking out the patterns by Sew Over It. Trying to decide if the style is really me. Can I pull of the retro look? Will it suit me? I almost bought the Vintage Shirt Dress pattern, and then decided to think some more. Ultimately, on our Christmas trip to London, I decided to leave the kids at home and venture out to Clapham ALONE (yay!) to visit Sew Over It in person. And...I walked away with not one, but 2 pieces of fabric, and the pattern for the Doris Dress. I fell in love with the cotton lawn first, and then had to find a pattern for it (not really a hardship!).

I made a muslin while my mother was visiting so I could get her to help with fitting issues. The dress has pleats on the front and back bodice, not darts. This was fine for the front, but I have a small back, and if I had used the ties to pull the dress as tight as I needed it, it wouldn't have looked great. So I re-drafted the pleats to make them darts and also re-drew the cutting lines very slightly for the back skirt pieces to fit the modified bodice.

The picture doesn't really do the fabric or the dress justice - I'll try to get a decent picture of the dress being worn! I cheated and didn't put buttonholes - just sewed the buttons on the front. The bodice doesn't have to open to get the dress on anyway.

This was my first Sew Over It pattern, and overall, I'm very pleased with the construction and the instructions. I would probably modify the way the invisible zip is added, but otherwise the instructions were clear and detailed.

So now I have my eye on the Vintage Shirt Dress again (having decided that it's a style I quite like, and I think suits me), and the gorgeous Atelier Brunette cotton lawn that is on the Sew Over It website. I'm trying to decide if it would be too indulgent to order some fabric and ask my sister-in-law to bring it with her when she visits us in a couple of weeks. It's really a good thing that shipping costs to Singapore are so high - it's the only thing that stops me from doing a lot more online fabric shopping!

Birthday Party Dress (the first)

I realised I completely forgot to blog about this dress when I first made it way back in October for A's 3rd birthday. She specifically requested an orange dress, and I was waiting for an occasion to make the Oliver + S Birthday Party Dress - perfect timing! And it was for a birthday party too!

I love this dress - the actual sewing was as fun as it was to see it on A for the first time. I also lucked out and got a lovely orange fabric. It's quilting cotton (I think it's Moda, although I can't actually remember). If I had a small quibble, it would be that the dress comes out a bit short, and it's hard to lengthen because it's finished with a hem facing. After 6 months of frequent wear, it is getting quite short, but A could wear it as a tunic with leggings.

I've made 2 of these dresses so far, and will definitely make more!

Friday, 21 April 2017

Tilly and the Buttons Miette Skirt

On our Christmas trip to London this past year, I decided (a bit impulsively) to buy a paper copy of the Miette Skirt pattern from Tilly and the Buttons. I spend FAR too long looking at independent pattern companies and their patterns online, and being tempted to get a pattern and then talking myself out of it. Usually if PDF versions aren't available, it's easy to pass up since shipping to Singapore is really expensive. But I did have my eye on Tilly and the Buttons for a while, so finally gave in to temptation and brought the pattern home. I need more basic skirts, and this one seemed quick to sew (no zips! no buttons!).

I stumbled across a lovely little fabric shop in Chinatown called Fabricity and when my mother was in town, I convinced her to go with me. They carry lovely shirting fabric, some Liberty prints, and some linen blends. So this linen-rayon blend turned into the Miette skirt:

I love the red-black colour of this fabric, but it is definitely a LOT of rayon with very little linen. It doesn't wrinkle and barely needs to be ironed. All great when it comes to wearability, but sewing it was a little challenging. It stretched out of shape, despite stay-stitching the waist, and the somehow the pocket pieces grew, so I had to put in a pleat on each pocket so they'd line up. But wow - are those deep pockets fabulous! Especially handy when you have small children needing you to carry their prized possessions around!

The pattern itself is really easy to sew, with clear instructions. It would be great for a beginner who wants a pretty end product without having to fuss with buttons and zips. 

New Look 6407

Last summer, going through my mother's sewing pattern collection, I found 2 blouse patterns that I thought I might be able to use in Singapore. It's taken me all this time to decide which one to make...and as it turns out, I ended up mashing them together into one blouse!

This was another example of having fabric and needing to find a pattern that would do the fabric justice, but also use the yardage I had on hand! 

I bought this beautiful Art Gallery voile a while ago - I love the colours and wanted something with a bolder pattern than I usually wear. I didn't have enough fabric for the sleeves in the original pattern, so I used another New Look pattern to draft a sleeveless blouse and finished the armholes with a bias binding (made from the same voile). 

Overall, I'm really happy with this blouse and the fit. The darts aren't perfect, but they're pretty close. The best part is the fabric...I am in LOVE with Art Gallery voile. It's soft and luxurious to wear, and perfect for hot and humid weather. I have another yard of voile in a turquoise that I bought for my daughter but I might just steal it away for some selfish sewing... ;)

Friday, 14 April 2017

Oliver + S Hula Hoop Skirt

Which 3-year old doesn't like swingy skirts?! So far (much to my relief), my daughter hasn't caught the tutu-craze that seems to be endemic amongst most girls her age. But she does like skirts that are easy to pull on and off. Having already made her several Badminton Skorts, I thought I should try something new. And, since Miss A is especially picky about what she wears these days, I had to check the fabric choices with her first!

I picked up the red cotton when I was in London 2 years ago, and the blue chambray is from an a-line skirt that failed terribly. I kept the failed skirt so I could re-use the fabric and there is plenty for at least 2 more skirts for little girls. If you look carefully, you'll see that I made a mistake when I cut the red skirt pieces, and the direction of the print is reversed from front to back. Oops! Oh well - hopefully no one will notice! It can be part of the 'wear this skirt inside out and back to front...any way you want' look!

I love the way this skirt goes together - fast and simple and no seams to finish! I did read some comments that other people have found their Hula Hoop skirts to be quite short. This doesn't seem to be an issue for me, but perhaps that's because A pulls anything she wears (skirts, shorts) down below her belly!

I really do love this skirt, and am already going through my stash of remnant fabric to see what else I can use for another one.