Friday, March 30, 2007

Today I had an adventure!

To cheer myself up, I decided to go on a fabric shop viewing trip. I decided to visit Remnant Warehouse, Dancing Queen and Artextile. This is what happened.....

1. Remnant Warehouse. I have heard of this shop but had never been.....and I won't be going is closing down TOMORROW! So that is the bad news. The good news is that all their Vogue patterns were in bins and were only 50c each! Here is what I got.

I also got some viscose lining in dark grey/black for $3 a metre. There was only 3 metres left so I bought it all. There was not a lot left in the shop.

2. Dancing Queen. This shop is in Lennox St Richmond (Melbourne). It is a very small shop and has unusual fabrics. Some of them are vintage. I purchase 3 pieces back on the Pattern Review Down Under weekend last year. But today nothing much inspired me, but I started talking to the owner about how I was looking for a lining to match my silk linen rose fabric. And voila - there it was.....a beautiful Italian acetate. The colours matched perfectly and it has two sides that can be used to advantage. It was a bit pricey at $16 a metre....but it was 20% off (they have a sale on at the moment). I bought 3 metres. Enough hopefully for a dress, jacket and skirt. Don't you just love their bags? - plastic with fabric plaits for handles.

Below is my suit fabric on the left with the new lining on the right - showing both sides.

3. Next was Artextile, just down the road - literally less than 500 metres. This just has to be the shop for the most beautiful fabrics in the whole wide world - if you are looking mainly for suitings. Ahhhhhh...........but at $85 + a metre, I declined. I have so much already, but I promise myself that if I make up a large portion of the stash this winter, then I can buy myself some luxury designer wool. There was this lamb and cashmere...............sigh! Burberry wool......sigh again! And the most softest red wool at $220 for the piece (1.9 metres).

Friday, March 23, 2007

I give up!

It is sooooooooo hot! I am perspiring more here sitting at my machine than I did this morning at the gym on the elliptical trainer....seriously! I have resorted to sitting in my bra and short skirt, but i still drip. My sewing machine screen has faded to near missing. However, it is not the heat that made me give up but.....

1. sewing the invisible zip in the wrong way
2. deciding to shorten the zip by zigzagging about 3 inches from the bottom. Oops, I did it from the top!
3. broking needle - where did it go? Down the bottom of the machine!

I think I will go to Eastland, where they have air conditioning!

The burn test

I bought 3 pieces of grey fabric from the Western Market in Hong Kong a couple (or maybe 3) years ago, that I was assured was Armani and made of silk - maybe silk linen blend - I can't remember exactly now. I am sure he did a burn test to prove to me. But now when I test I am not so sure. What can I say - it is so hot there and you get confuzzled!

In the photo I tested several fabrics. The two on the left I know are poly, the two on the right I know are what are the middle two? You can see that they have curled up and outside they do have a shiny look to the burn. But I can rub ash off them. One smells a bit like wood burning. So I suppose (maybe) a silk blended with a synthetic.

Anyway I was thinking of making a dress/ jumper (as per Summerset's suggestion) as a transeasonal garment and using some beautiful Chanel silk as the lining. The lining is also from the Western Market but from a different seller - it has the word Chanel woven into it. A (very) small piece of it was used for the burn test - second from the right. But, I don't think I will waste my Chanel on a poly blend dress.

So what shall I make today - I think a late summer skirt. Cotton from Spotlight! Today it is 35 degrees (95 F) but tomorrow only 21 (70F) - that's Melbourne for you!
I will make a dress/jumper from the Armani (hey I am still calling it that) another day but use another lining. I am now thinking RED lining - with shoes, belt and lippy to match!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

What to do next?

Yesterday, I was going to sew but DD's have been nagging for me to get the computers fixed. We have 4 - Ellen's laptop, one pc that has internet access, another pc that somehow has lost it's internet access and an old pc that just won't turn on.

I took the old pc to the shop and yah! it now works, it even connects onto the internet....yippee. I changed the port that the non accessing internet pc was plugged into on the router and shock and amazement, that one now connects. So when the girls came home from school, we had 4 working computers and they all access to the internet. So no more fighting for a computer!!!

Next job will be to look for faster access to the internet. .......

Also yesterday, I bought myself a piping foot! I didn't know they existed. When making Ellen's formal dress I had trouble keeping close to the piping, and I thought I must get an edging foot (or something). Well now I have a piping foot, so the next project should be something with piping.

I am tempted to make something to wear this weekend - going to visit parents in the country with my sister. It is always nice to have something to show off! But I will have only one day to make a skirt, or a dress? I could make a final summer garment, but I think the weather is going to turn cold........ah, indecision is my middle name.....

And my sewing machine is sounding like it needs a service.....

Monday, March 19, 2007

What Sofie did on Sunday....

Yesterday, Sofie decided she was going to make a bag. She had been making a pencil case at school and felt quite confident she could make the bag.
We searched the stash and found some baby blue corduroy, some blue fur and a remnant of blue and white sheeting.
We also found some iron on sparkles that spelt out "Paris".
So I lost my sewing machine for the day, but was summoned every so often to advise her what step to take next.

Sofie designed the bag shape herself. She cut out the fabric and did all the sewing. She even did the unpicking (only needed to do that once) herself.
She plans on using it as her dance bag - to take her jazz and tap shoes and drink bottle to class.
The fur on the outside forms a pocket. And there is a phone pocket inside as well!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The formal frock, in motion!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words... but what about video??

Advice needed

I am going to make a suit from some fabric I bought from the Western Market in Hong Kong back in 2004. I was told that the fabric is a silk linen blend. I have done the flame test and yes it is definitely natural fibre. The jacket is going to be in the rose fabric (second from the bottom on the left) and the skirt in the matching plain fabric (the one just above it). I will pipe the jacket in the plain fabric (I only learnt yesterday that Janome has a piping foot - Oh what a sheltered life I lead. And to think I just used the zipper foot and hoped for the best on Ellen's outfit...).

Now to my question .....the lining. I do have a silk animal print I could use (sorry no photo - camera still at school) but the poly on the bottom of the stack on left is such a good match. It is a rose jacquard print that I originally bought to make lingerie. I could use one side for the lining and use the other side as piping around the edge of the facing. But would it be sacrilege to use poly to line a silk suit? Happy to hear all thoughts. None of the fabric was expensive.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

No camera......

Ellen was all dressed and ready to go. So time for the photos......mmmm.....where's the camera?

"oh, no! I took it to school for an assignment and is it still in my locker!" OK stay calm......AHHHH!!!

What to do? Fire up the video camera and take a video. Now Ellen's assignment today is to edit the very small film, upload it onto YouTube and somehow attach it to this blog. As for me, I am off the the Stitches and Craft show at Caufield racecourse with my sister.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

It's finished.....and the shoes too!

All finished (and with 2 days still before the formal!). I undid the waistband and trimmed the netting only. This left the lining and bias strip allowances as buffers against the bits of net left. After a quick wearing test I stitched the binding back on.

The picture on the right is one shoe before the make over and one after. I just put a ribbon on the shoe, tied a bow and attached a heart shaped bit of bling I got last time I was in Hong Kong. I think they were something like 10 cents, so if they don't last the night, no matter.

Here is a picture of the completed outfit. Will have some more when Ellen is all glammed up for the event. Now to go and clean the sewing room for something for me!

The skirt.

Thanks Marji for the thoughts on the waistband. I was just being lazy, thinking that the skirt will only be worn once so lets make a quick finish around the waist. I will unpick, trim the netting and probably do a traditional waistband - with interfacing. That will probably be the best. I don't have any twill tape on hand (and not in red or silver). But you are right, I need more than one layer to keep the scratchies away :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The skirt (almost) done

Sorry, no photo. I took the camera to work to upload but alas the battery is dead!

The skirt is sort of done but I need to redo the waist band. I used a silver bias strip to finish off the waist but the netting is poking through and is spiky. I would have preferred to use some of the bodice satin, however there wasn't any left over. So I need to unpick and rethink.

We didn't have any luck with the shoe shopping. Nothing Ellen liked. We did find a nice (but rather pricy) pair of red ribbon shoes. They only had one pair left in her size but they did not match - one had a satin sole and the other leather??? We took that as an omen and did not get any shoes. So back to the silver "mum" shoes. We will try and tart them up with a bow or something.

And thanks for the thoughts on the purple. We thought that would be over the top too and will stick to silver ribbon to tie up at the back.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Now back to the skirt

A self portrait by Ellen on her phone camera - I think she is happy so far!

The bodice is finished except for deciding on what colour ribbon (and then buying) to use for the back and closing the opening at the bottom left open for bagging the lining.

We tried it on with the "draft skirt". Decision time... we will try removing the lower layer and using it to make a shorter layer. Then one more fuller layer at the top. We quite liked the purple ribbon (purple was all we had on hand) -maybe if we add purple crystals to the bodice....any thoughts?

Ellen doesn't like my silver shoes, so off to the shops this afternoon...(it is Monday and a public holiday today in Melbourne).

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Bodice almost done :)

I'm a bit excited.....the bodice is starting to look like ..mmm.. a bodice! lol

Today we worked on the middle layer - we boned at all the seams. I just sewed it directly to the seams. I kept the area over the bust loose (unstitched). We sacrificed a bra to give the bust some shape. While we were at it, we decided to add a bit extra padding to the right side. No need to tell you why we did that...what can you say, mother nature is not perfect!

We stitched the decorative stitches we trialed yesterday. To make the sewing of the diamond pattern easier, I used a fading marker to draw lines to stitch on. The rotary cutter mat certainly came in useful for that!

We used a tear away stabliser to reduce puckering. Now that was lots of fun ripping off after the stitching (not!). Thanks Sofie for the help..

The outer layer was then constructed. We used the diamond stitched section in the front, and piped all the seams, except the side seams. Front and middle layers were then joined along with piping around the edges.

Ok, I'm all done for today. Time to go and watch two taped episodes of Biggest Loser (Aussie version) while I have an icecream..hehe

Friday, March 9, 2007

The piping is done...

Upon advice I changed my needle to a ball point (sorry Sandra Betzina, you were wrong :( ). The ball point worked beautifully. I used a Janome red point needle. Claire Shaeffer did say to use a red or yellow needle but didn't mention ball point. I also have to thank Claire for her instructions on how to make piping in her book "High Fashion Sewing Secrets". So the piping is made and ready for insertion.

I have also made the underskirt/lining for the tutu section. I am letting it hang to allow it to drop, should it want to. I will leave the skirt now until the top is done as we are not sure yet which way to go. More netting, gathering, etc, etc.......

And I have done some samples for the decorative stitching on the bodice. Ellen wanted something like what I did on her communion dress (just a few years ago)..

We have decided to go with the sample on the bottom right - stretch stitch. It gives it a bit more omph!

Sunday, March 4, 2007

The skirt....

Well the netting was very easy to sew. Nice change from the lame. However we don't quite have the look we are after. Next plan of action will be to take off about 15cm from the waist so we can gather to get more fullness. Ellen also would like it shorter. Then we will decide if we do more layers or not. Unfortunately I won't be able to get back onto it until Wednesday

Piping - ugh!

No good news I am afraid. I started the piping with the metallic silver fabric and boy did that give me problems. 3 broken needles and only about half a metre of 5 metres done. Sandra Betzina suggests using jeans needle size 70/10. So off to Lincraft today to get some of those. I was using small sharps. They sewed well, no pulled threads, but they broke. Must be when they actually hit a thread rather than slip between. I then tried jeans 90/14 (the only jeans ones I have on hand) and they gathered the fabric. Apparently the jeans needles are stronger in the shank.

I am not feeling too good about this...........maybe I will try the skirt instead.