Thursday, 6 December 2012

Button-up in blue

Here's a dress I finished up actually while we were at the old house but hadn't had a chance to grab pics of until now.

The pattern is Simplicity 6294 and the fabric is some kind of polyester slippery fabric from the Fabric Cave. I've had it sitting in my stash for a while but was never quite sure what to make with it. In fact, I think this is my first dress made from a plain coloured piece of fabric!

The pattern was for a 36 inch bust so I spent some time learning how to grade the pattern down using this handy tutorial from A Fashionable Stitch. I didn't both with the skirt pieces though, I was more worried about the top fitting. After finishing the pattern grading a made a quick muslin and ended up having to adjust the armholes (as always!). You may also notice the darts are slightly misaligned. whoops!

The buttons are just come left over ones I think I got from Reverse Garbage for 50cents a few months back.
I actually really like this dress and it's ended up on high rotation in my wardrobe. Only downside is it definitely needs a belt with it because the waist seam is a tiny bit wonky. The black belt (of the dress kind not the hiiiii-ya karate chop kind)  is the only one I own, but I think it would work quite well with brown, what do you think?

A few weeks back I also had a bunch of friends up from Canberra for the weekend and we had a bit of fun taking jumping photos off the back step. Isn't it funny how differently everyone jumps?!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Moving and an update

As a kid we only ever moved house once, from a house in the city centre to a block of land about 30 minutes away. It seems to be as I've gotten older and moved from sharehouse to unit to house, I've become better at adapting to change and trying to go with the flow. So when our little unit was put up for sale a few months ago, Benj and I thought it might be time to start looking for somewhere a tiny bit bigger to rent - with a backyard was Benj's criteria. 

After a bit of searching and a few inspections we found a lovely little run-down cottage house just a few blocks away from where we currently live, with a giant backyard and in our price range. Hooray! 

Saturday we  hired a truck and with the help of my bro and our two lovely friends Megan and Ben, loaded all our crap in the back and drove it to the new place. 

It's amazing the little differences you appreciate. Bathtub! Full phone reception! Television reception without rabbit ears! A big room just for sewing! A backyard with lots of veggie space! 

The only downside is now I never want to leave for work! 

Ben, Megan and I out the backyard. 

The panoramic backyard view
In other exciting news, a new sewing/craft place has opened up near Broadway in Sydney. They were looking for people to get involved and I'll be holding a sewing stretch leggings workshop in a few weeks time! Eek! If you know anyone looking to learn to make their own clothes, let them know!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Muslin: Lonsdale Dress

Sewaholic's Lonsdale dress has been on my 'to do' list for a while and when I discovered A Fashionable Stitch was having a big sale, it seemed like no better time than to buy the pattern (and a few many other bits and pieces).

I started with a muslin just to check sizing round the chest region. Lucky, because there are a few bits and pieces I need to change. First up, I used this wonderful fitting post to help me, and had to make almost the same changes.

The front.

First the tiny bit of bust gaping around the top. I think this is the same adjustment I would have needed to make with the Tiki dress, if only I'd recognised it at the time. I also appear to have an incredibly short waist because I'm seriously removing like an inch from the front and back waist - is that normal?

From previous dresses, I've noticed my upper body seems to be quite short and my legs long.

I also had to remove a chuck from the centre front - I'm not really sure if this is right though?

The back. Yeah, I kinda take short cuts sometimes on muslins.

What do you think? Do you always have to take the waist up? Am I making the right adjustments?

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Freaky Tiki

I received Gertie's new book (Gertie's Book for Better Sewing) in the mail a while ago now  but wanted to wait until I'd had the chance to properly read it and make something before I followed up again.

There are tons of great projects in this book, some of my favourite are the the Portrait Blouse, Wiggle Dress (below left), Shirtdress and, the one I made recently, the Tiki dress (below right).

Picture source. 

Here's my finished version of the Tiki Dress. I decided to go with two straps rather than the halter neck because there's no way I'd ever really actually wear a halter neck. I just love bras too much.

Overall I really like this book. It's definitely not a beginner book, the instructions can be a bit vague and you need to know the basic construction of how things fit together. There are lots of useful techniques in here but to be honest the only one I used on this dress was the lapped zipper, and even with that I had to do a bit of googling.

 I think the range of patterns are the main drawcard. If you like vintage style and shapes then these patterns are for you!

With the Tiki dress, I did make a rough muslin but I probably should have spent a bit more time fitting it. The bust was gaping a bit and particularly at the sides is a bit loose.

Gappy bust

I think this may be due to the shirred back bodice moving apart slightly at the top. I had some difficulty with the shirring at first, it just would not come out tight enough but then I did some more google research and discovered this great post on how to fix it. After tightening up this bolt it worked like a dream!

Sides not quite sitting flat. On me they stick out a bit more.

The shirred back. My first time shirring!

Finally, instead of sewing the straps in, I left them off until last so I could place them in the right place to hoik up my boobs. I attached them with two buttons at each join. It worked pretty well, although I wore it out last night for the first time and I did have to put some safety stitches through the straps to my bra to make sure it held up! Especially when dancing was expected!

the inside of shirred back and the button-joined straps.
I discovered you can embed songs from Spotify (btw, do you have spotify? Do you like it?) which I'm going to try do with each post. I listen to so much music when sewing it's a good chance to spread the music love! First up, a song that's good for ze dancing:

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Mod Dress: A patterns and postcards update

There's something uber exciting about receiving mail in the post. The actual hard-copy post. It's a real delight to come home to.

I've received lots of parcels lately after swapping as part of the Perfect Noses' patterns and postcards swap. It's a really great idea and not only do you get to get rid of pattens you never use, you get to receive new exciting patterns and meet some great ladies along the way!

First up, I swapped the Perfect Nose for some of her traced magazine patterns, including a boatneck Knitmode dress. 

I was keen for simple project so this mod dress was the perfect thing. I've had this quilting cotton in my stash for a while, I originally had meant to make it into the Burda Alexander top and a pencil skirt but just never got around to it.

 Benj got all craft with the photos this time too. "Lean in the corner, lift your foot up, look away..." - a photographer in the making I reckon!

The dress is lovely, the boob-bit is a wee bit tight for my liking but I think it would be great to make this again in a fabric with a bit more stretch.

Here are some of the other patterns I swapped for:

A big thank you to Perfect NoseBusy Lizzie, Sew Squirrel, Beata, for swapping with me, I can't wait to get started!

I still have a few more patterns left, if you'd like to take a look here.

If you're ever interested in borrowing a pattern too just give me a shout - I'm always happy to post them around for other people to trace and use.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Birthday Shenanigans

Goodbye sore back, aching arms and twisted neck, hello pattern cutting table of my dreams!

My birthday pressie
This week I celebrated my 25th birthday (hello quarter century!) and the lovely Benj made me a gorgeous new sewing table out of recycled wood they were throwing out at school. It's lovely and high (950mm says B) and is perfect for laying out patterns and cutting. We're lucky we have a spare room it fits in, although I hear it was a bit of a nightmare to get it in the door!

I need to go down to my folks and collect a giant swivel chair now to use with it.

Yes, that is cream. a LOT of cream.

Mr B and I have been talking about getting a dog for a bit now but have a few other things to sort out first. So instead of a dog for my birthday Benj got me a cake shaped like a dog. Mmmm delicious. We ate him bum up.

Above are some new features on my sewing table, presents from friend. So lovely!

Yesterday we had a picnic in the park and bbq'ed our way to deliciousness. Unfortunately I was too busy eating to take any pictures but we did re-discover my old Polaroid to take this pic of Benj, manning the bbq. 

What a lovely week! I have actually finished a few dresses lately too so updates on those to come. Plus a patterns and postcards update!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Om nom nom

Some delicious treats to share with you! These are from our newest cookbook Vegies by Simon Bryant. A mixture of almonds, pumpkin seeds, dried figs, dried apricots, hazlenuts and puffed rice, held together with honey and maple syrup then dunked in dark chocolate. I classify these as a healthy treat.... right? RIGHT?

Here's them on a windowsill with our cute teapot. If only all food looked this attractive.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Put a bird on it

What's this? I finally finished a dress?! About bloody time.

I've been in such a sewing funk lately and finally got my sewing mojo back. These past two weekends have I've gone sew crazy.

I'd seen a few versions on Simplicity 2444 floating around the blogsphere that I really liked so I ordered the pattern a few months back. This fabric is actually an old bed sheet I picked up at an op-shop during our Walcha trip, for about $2. I really loved the patterns on it and although generally white and brown colours don't look these best on me, I just couldn't walk past it.

It's finally spring! I was actually warm in this dress and sandals today. Hurrah for warm weather!

To try break up the print a bit I put some leather bias piping in the waistband (picked it up from fabric cave months and months back and finally had a chance to use it!). I also purposely centred the bird on my chest, it was just my favourite part of the print.

For this pattern I made a muslin and ended up having to take about 1.5 inch out of the centre front and another 2 inches from the back, sloping down to nothing at the waist. I'm still working out this fitting thing but I think I have a small chest and potentially rounded back? Either way I'm really chuffed with this fit, it's a tiny bit tight (particularly in the armhole), I think because I chose to put an invisible zipper in but decided to handpick it, to try that technique and because I just wasn't feeling up to the invisible zipper sewing challenge.
Inside the dress (unironed and straight outa the wash) and the picked zipper.

My favourite thing about this dress? The insides! So neat and tidy. I decided to line the whole thing with some left over fabric I had and boy oh boy and I glad I did. The bedsheet had that slightly see-through thing happening so it's great to know it's not at all see-through now!

My boss at work has this thing about hipsters putting birds on things. He always says to make something hip just 'Put a bird on it'.

VoilĂ !

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Tour de Timor

Holiday snaps time! Well not actually a holiday, a work trip. I work for an international development organisation and occasionally get the chance to go on field trips like this to visit our projects. Last week I travelled  to Timor Leste, just an hour's flight from Darwin, to visit some of our water and sanitation projects. I'd heard some things about Timor and was aware of it's history but had no idea what to expect. 

I wanted to share just some of the beautiful pictures from the trip. We spent a day and a half with one community following them from sunrise to sunset as the girls collected water for their homes, walked an hour to school then returned and spent the afternoon helping their families on the farm.

I had no idea Timor was this mountainous. The capital Dili sits on the beach and then everything behind it is hills. The roads are mostly dirt and incredible difficult to drive on. It took us 1.5hours to drive 26km! The small building on the hill top is the local school. The children in the village we were at walked about 1 hr 15 min each day to get to school. The school was in quite good condition but the big problem is around resource capacity. While the school had 8 teachers only 2 were paid, the others were all volunteers. When the volunteers couldn't show up the principal would have to teach the extra classes.

This is the village of Mate Restu that we spent the day at. In the first hut lived 2 families about 16 people.
The girls as they walked to collect water. They each carried two 5 litre jerry cans. The girl in blue in the foreground is called Elezete, she's just 9 years old and collects water 3 times a day.

At the water point the children do everything. They wash themselves, brush their teach, comb their hair and then fill up the jerry cans. This is a natural spring and it's flowing out of a cut-in-half piece of bamboo.
The walk down to the water point is crazy steep! I helped carry some jerry cans up and almost fell over a lot of times. For someone half my weight I can't imagine how they do it every day.

This is Erlinda, 12 years old.
I love older people's faces. This was Manuel, one of the oldest men in the village. We spoke to him about how the country had changed over the years.

These two girls were at a different village where our organisation had installed water taps for the community. The little girl in green had the most beautiful smile and walked the whole time arm in arm with this other girl.

Me at work.

The beautiful sunrise as we left Dili on our final day.
All pictures are credited to James Alcock.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Patterns and Postcards

There's nothing like a good spring cleanout and with spring sprung just last week it's a perfect time to participate in the Patterns and Postcards swap over at The Perfect Nose.

I'm sure I'm not alone when I say I have a tendency to buy patterns and then let them sit on my shelf gathering dust for months and I um and ah about their potential. It's time to share the potential! The swap rules are easy. Below are pics of all my patterns up for swapping. I'm interested in dresses and tops but happy to take a look at whatever you'd like to swap! If you see anything you fancy please leave a comment or send me an email: dana.szydlik at gmail dot com

If you'd like any more details on the patterns, a bigger picture of scan of the back just let me know.

Happy swapping!

Butterick 6325. Sizes 8,10,12 (bust 31.5, 32.5, 34)

Butterick 6480
Size 14, bust 36

Butterick 6548
Size 12, Bust 34
Swapped with Beata

Butterick B5032
Size 14,16,18,20
Bust 36 -42
Swapped with Sew Squirrel

McCalls 9526
Size 12, Bust 34
Blogged here
Swapped with Busy Lizzie

Simplicity 6946
Size 12, Bust 34

Simplicity 7451
Size medium 12-14
Swapped with PoppyKettle

Simplicity 3299
Size 14, Bust 36

Simplicity 8348
Size 12-16
Bust 34-38

Simplicity 8676
Size 8-18
Bust (finished garment) 38 - 46.5)

Style 2377
Size 10, Waist 64cm

Vogue Anne Klein
Size 6,8,10
Bust 30.5 - 32.5
Swapped with The Perfect Nose
In other news, apologies for the recent absence, I'll be back later this week with some pictures of where I was...