Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas and a Blog Holiday

Well after posting about my 2013 Christmas Dress I feel that its time to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy and safe New Year!

I will be taking a break from blogging from now until around the 20th of January.  I know that seems like a long time, but I am taking an extra week off to travel to New Zealand with my family.  No doubt I will have a lot to blog about (cause I'm not exactly going to stop sewing...) when I get back on deck.

I'm sure I will be still be posting on my Facebook page, so if you really miss me, just wander on over there and say hi!

Thank you all so much for reading, commenting, liking, sharing and posting.  Its lovely to have each and every one of you here.


Friday, December 20, 2013

My 2013 Christmas Dress

Before I show you the finished outfit, I'm going to talk about the rest of the construction process.  Feel free to skip to the bottom!!!

The next step after making the bodice was to put on the trim pieces.  On the Blue Roses dress, these were edged in piping, so I thought I'd do the same thing with this dress, but in gold.  So I bought some gold satin to turn into bias.  What an experience that was!  Even drawing the diagonal lines on it to cut out the strips was a nightmare, so I gave up on that idea.  I could see it taking waaaaaaay to much time.  So I crossed all my fingers and toes and headed to Spotlight in the hope they'd have some gold bias.

THEY HAD TWO TYPES!!!!  Gold satin and gold lurex!  After putting both with the shoes, I put a post on my Facebook page to see what people preferred, and the unanimous vote was the lurex (on the right of the photo), which is exactly what I thought too!

So I tried to make piping from it... it shifted around and no matter how slow the machine went, how careful I was, or how much I pinned it, this happened:

I'm surprised I have any hair left after trying to make this...

So I gave up on that idea, and decided to use the bias as bias, and I trimmed down the seam allowance on the top side of the trim piece, and wrapped the bias around it.  Then I attached these pieces to the bodice!

Then I had to pleat the skirt.  This took FOREVER!!!  I had a pleat pattern I wanted to follow from a lovely vintage shirtwaist dress in my collection.  It looks like this:

The pleats are in groups of four, with a little more than an inch in between the groups

I had two lengths of fabric to pleat, both a little over 2 metres, one for the front and one for the back.  It took several attempts to get it right.  I'd pleat up half a side, measure it, it would be too long (or too short) so I'd have to pull the pins out, iron it flat, and start again.  Thankfully I was doing this in front of the TV watching Call the Midwife, so really it wasn't that bad!

Eventually I got it right, and I attached the pieces together and attached it to the bodice.  Then I hand picked the zipper, because I figured it would be easier to do that with all the layers.  And here is the finished outfit!

I swear, all that work with the pleating was TOTALLY WORTH IT!

Crazy Christmas shoes (actually called Santa Baby) by Irregular Choice
(sadly these are now sold out worldwide)
Amazing poinsettia fascinator by GGs Pinup Couture
Gail also is on Facebook and Instagram, and sells on Etsy
Seriously worth checking out her work - its AHHHMAZING!

I am 100% sure that this is my best Christmas outfit so far, and its setting the bar pretty high for next year!  Do you dress in the Christmas theme at this time of year, or on Christmas day - or is it just me?


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The 2013 Christmas Dress

It all started with a crazy pair of shoes:

I had been looking for inspiration for this years Christmas ensemble and it came to me in the form of these Irregular Choice shoes.  I know that they aren't for everyone, but they are over-the-top and I love them!  I set about finding fabric that matched them perfectly and I think I found it:

The black, red and touches of gold go perfectly with the shoes.  Next job was to work out what I wanted the dress to look like.  I've been wanting to remake the Blue Roses dress that I made for the Fall For Cotton challenge, so I thought this might be a good opportunity!

And I decided to employ my new technique for making a sleeveless lined bodice with ALL the seams on the inside and photograph it for you!  I'm sure that I didn't invent this, and I'm sure someone knows a better way, but this works for me.

Step One
Cut out bodice fronts and backs (lining and fashion fabric) and sew up all the darts, then pin the two fronts and the two backs together lining up the neck hole and the arm holes.

Step Two
Sew around the neck hole and the arm holes, leaving the shoulders open.   Clip the curves and trim down the seam allowance at the shoulder.  Do the same thing to the back pieces.

Step Three
Turn the back through so its right side out and iron the seams.

Step Four
Insert the turned through piece inside the un-turned through piece, so its right sides together.  Line up the shoulder seams and pin.

Step Five
Sew the shoulder seam and then trim down to eliminate some of the thickness.

Step Six
Turn the un-turned piece so both halves are right side out.  Iron the seams.

Step Seven
Work out which side you need to put the zipper in (somehow, locating the left side is always REALLY HARD!) and open the right side out so that the underarm seams line up.

Step Eight
Sew along the seam - you may have to pivot the needle on the underarm seam.  Press and you're done!

I really hope that all made sense!  I've done it a few times now and it works for me every time, I'm really happy with doing the bodice this way as its all neat!

Stay tuned for more updates on this dress - I have one more day to finish it off, cause I need to wear it on Friday.

Cross your fingers for me!


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Thankyou Pantone!!!

Did you know that there is this company in the US called Pantone that is the 'global colour authority' and at the end of every year they make a colour prediction for the coming year?

Well just look what they've picked for 2014:

Yes, that's right, they have picked my favourite colour!!!

Radiant Orchid is "an enchanting harmony of fuschia, purple, and pink undertones' and it 'inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health'.  It is also 'a dazzling attention-getter'.

Yipee!!!  There is so much of this colour in my wardrobe!!!

For I start I have these dresses that you might remember from Frocktober:

I have more lilac dresses...lots more... and capri pants, and tops, and cardigans, and skirts... and these pants that I made to cure my pantsophobia:

Gee my hair has gotten a lot redder since then...

And I have these fabulous bangles:

All but three of these are bakelite.  There are two lucite, and one fakelite.

Not to mention shoes and handbags and hair flowers!!!

Yes, I do have a pair for each of these shoes!

So its it just me or is a massive company giving me permission to indulge in my favourite colour???


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Finishing off the Cherry Gingham Dress

I've finally finished this dress and worn it for photos!

Last we spoke, the dress was all together but needed finishing touches (hems, buttons, zipper etc) but I'd made the bias tape.  So really, there wasn't a lot to do, but its always the finishing touches that take the time!

I did mention in a previous post that I was changing the way this dress closes.  Because I like my clothing fitted (ie. tight) I find that buttons end up gaping, so with that in mind, I decided to sew the fronts together and put in fake buttons and instead have a zipper in the left side.

The plan when sewing the fronts together was to not make it look too obvious...  I started out by pinning the fronts together:

Then I ran a line of stitching 2/8ths of an inch in front the edge of the right front from where it meets the gingham on the shoulder, to just below where the skirt is sewn together in the pattern instructions.

Then I finished the stitching line down the front of the skirt on the front piece only.  And finally, I went back to the top and sewed a line of stitching on the right side, so what I had was this:

Then I stitched the buttons on so they looked like they were keeping the dress closed, and sewed the bias on the sleeves and the bottom of the skirt.  I just love the way it looks on the sleeves!

Now, a word of warning for anyone else thinking of sewing the fronts of their dresses together...  Make sure you can still get your head through the neck hole!!!!  This didn't even cross my mind when I came up with this idea, and thankfully my head juuuuust fits...

So now - the photos of me wearing the finished Cherry Gingham Dress!!!

A fitted dress with NO GAPING!!!

Gotta love a dress with a pocket...

Ok, so the back is a bit wrinkly... but I have been wearing this all day, so in reality its not that bad... and don't you just love the gingham bias tape finishing the skirt!!!

This is a great dress pattern, and really easy to sew up.  I would like to make it up again in a rayon because I think it would also be fabulous in a fabric with a lovely soft hand and drape.  I'll put it on the list shall I!


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

And so it begins - Christmas 2013

I love Christmas.  I've always loved Christmas.  First Santa Photo and I'm not even crying!

Ok, to be fair, Mum didn't let me see who's lap she'd put me on... and I have a feeling that in the next photo of me in this series I'm totally melting down.

But Christmas when I was growing up was always a happy time full of love and family.  We have a special tradition that was started before I turned 1.  My Nan and Pop (Mum's Mum and Dad) came over early in my first December with a Christmas tree, and Mum and Dad, and Nan and Pop put the tree up together. And then all through my life until they were no longer with us, Nan and Pop would come over to help us put up our tree.  As my brother Matt and I got older we'd always make sure we were there - even if it was only via a computer screen:

Matty is on Skype from Canada in this photo.  We invited some of his friends over to help with the tree - yes it takes 4 people to fill the hole that my brother leaves!

I've now taken over this tradition.  Mum and Dad come to my place to put up my tree with my husband and his two children, and I cook a traditional Christmas dinner for us to enjoy afterwards.

This photo is from a few years ago now - 2009 to be precise

2009 turned out to be Nan's last Christmas with us, so in hindsight it was wonderful to have had her at my place to help put up my tree.

This year with my continuing health issues and other scheduling problems, I only had Mum and Dad and my friend Catherine over to help decorate the tree.  My husband was away with work, and his kids were at their Mum's place.  In one way it was good not to have to deal with all the pressure, but in another way it was sad not to be surrounded by all the usual silliness and celebration.

2011 - Silliness with Miss Stella

But I did enjoy getting all my lovely Christmas things out of their storage boxes and decorating my house with them:

 My massive 7-foot Christmas tree.  Miss Stella loves removing and destroying the poinsettia flowers from the bottom level.  

This is my large dining table, and last year Mum made Santa hats for all the chairs 

This is my small dining table, which I try to leave mostly clear, so we can actually use it!   The chairs around this table have Santa hats on them too.

 This year I decided to bring Christmas to our family area where we spend most of our time, so I bought another small tree to decorate and surround with my collection of tea-light candle Santas

 And I also decided to push my husband's buttons (he's a bit of a bah-humbug) by decorating the staircase.  This is still a work in progress, but its a damn good start!

My Mum presented me with this huge quilted wall hanging this year.  She's been working on it for 2 years now.  The design is based on an Aussie Christmas carol by Rolf Harris called 6 White Boomers.  You can listen to it here

And lastly, this is my new friend this Christmas - I purchased this adorable donkey because I just had to have him.  His name is Joseph.  Mum Christmas-ified him, but I have a feeling he'll be hanging around my house all year long.  He's too adorable to go in a cupboard!

So I hope you've enjoyed looking at my Christmas decorations for this year.  I'm really happy that I put them up as early as I did - I'll be able to enjoy them as long as possible this year!  Does anyone else go as mad at Christmas as I do?


PS.  Guess what turned up yesterday - MY CRAZY CHRISTMAS SHOES!!!!!  I'm so excited about them.  The fabric I bought to make this years dress shouldn't be too far away either, so keep your eye on my Facebook page for updates...