Category Archives: sewing

the right tights

sooooo, I used to have opinions about tights as pants. I say “used to”, because I’ve been on a bit of a tight-making extravaganza of late. I blame my change of heart on three things:

1) Going running more often, and wanting fun things to wear

2) Other people looking like they were pretty much winning at life whilst wearing their cool tights

3) Spandex world. Soooo much crazy fabric.

In combination, these things have made me want, nay, NEED radass tights in my wardrobe, partially for hella-cool exercise gear that makes me feel excited to go running, and now for generally-awesome daywear.

I got to physically visit on a trip to New York this year (SO exciting…), and I got some really awesome spandex that I’ve been slowly turning into really awesome things. I drafted a pattern using Cal Patch’s tutorial over on Etsy, and after a few tweaks, have my pattern downpat. So far I’ve made two versions that are designated running tights. Here’s the first:

floral tights 1 floral tights 2

Isn’t the floral print fabulous? I have some leftovers I want to make into swimmers.

The next pair I’m wearing for the Bridge to Brisbane tomorrow, which is an annual 10km run that’s very popular here in Brissy. I helped a bunch of friends make their own tights out of the harlequin fabric, and we are all wearing them with different coloured tops. Fun!

harlequin tight harlequin tights

Finally, I’ve made a set of tights for actual daily clothing wear, and I super dig them. I looooooooove the floral spandex these are made out of, it’s gorgeous. I also made the top I’m wearing over them. It’s a slightly adjusted version of a boxy top I got earlier in the year, made out of a lovely black wool jersey from The Fabric Store, and it’s perfect for wearing with opaque tights (just enough bum coverage to make me feel a bit more comfortable, but not so long that it covers too much awesome-tight).

red floral tights 4 red floral tights 3 red floral tights 2 red floral tights 1

I am totally in love with these, but our winter is fast disappearing (honestly, it barely appeared), so it’ll be back to shorts and summer dresses in no time.

Anyway – I have some tights that I think are cool. I hope you do too :o)

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my extra gorman boxy top

gorman is one of my favourite clothing lines in Australia, I consistently want something out of their current season, and although it’s not exactly in a price range that allows me to have a wardrobe full of the stuff, I tend to buy myself something from there a couple of times a year (usually in one of their frequent and excellent sales). These little treats are usually some of my favourite pieces of clothing.

This winter my treats from gorman were a boxy black wool top and some sneakers (pictured). For a top that is literally just black and not very exciting at all, it’s a bit weird how much I want to wear this thing all. the. time. Boxy tops might be my new favourite thing. Anyway, while I was unsuccessfully avoiding The Fabric Store winter sale, I spied some fabulous green wool knit and knew I had to have another version.

So, this top is a total copy of a gorman top I absolutely love, and now I have it in another awesome colour (this green is seriously great – I’ve never been this in love with a shade of green).

 

boxy green top

boxy green top

I used bands for the neckline, which I attached to the pattern pieces *before* I sewed the front and back together, because I wanted to keep the neckline style similar to the original.

I haven’t done a great deal of knit sewing, and although I have an overlocker, I’ve been put off by hems. This time I tried the twin-needle trick. I’ve been wary of this because I didn’t understand how a straight stitched hem would work when knits need a stretchy stitch. I finally read somewhere that the zig-zagging between the stitches at the back allows for stretch, and was convinced to give it a shot. I should probably just have trusted the millions of other very-experienced bloggers that have recommended this for knits frequently, because IT’S AMAZING and there’s zero rippling, but I like understanding *why* things work.

boxy green top boxy green top

Anyway, now I have two of my new favourite top, which I can use to see out our incredibly mild and short-lived winter. Hopefully I still love boxy tops this much next year.

the lace curtain dress

I finally decided to have a shot at doing something with lace – I bought a piece from reverse garbage, a place in Brisbane that sells odds and ends from all sorts of places with the hope of people finding a use for others’ junk. Anyway, I assume this fabric was a lace curtain in a past life, and I got a couple of metres for $6. Yay! Bargain!

I previously got going on Cambie dress, and despite making a muslin, had some neckline gaping issues. My attempt to fix them post-hoc made things ten times worse, and as a result it’s on the mending pile. Hopefully I’ll get the energy to do something about it, because I *love* the pattern, and it’s in a really pretty cotton.

Anyway, this dress is a bit improvised, but the bodice started out as the Cambie bodice pattern. I made the neckline straight (as per Tasia’s tutorial here), and totally removed the top of the back, so it’s just straight across:

lace dress back

oops. The back hem isn’t as wonky as this photo suggests. I just think it was unironed… (typical)

The bodice has 3 layers: the lace layer, the underlining, and then a lining. You know when you’ve read about a technique and you get really excited when you get to put that knowledge in to action? That’s how I feel about the underlining for this dress. I started with just the lace pieces:

and then pinned them to the underlining (identical pattern pieces, in cotton):

… and sewed them together, so I can treat them as one pattern piece.

I haven’t used underlining for anything before, but I’m planning to use it for a linen dress to limit wrinkling.

For the skirt, I didn’t use an underlining, so there’s just two layers. I wanted the top (lace) layer to hang free of the cotton lining underneath, so I just sewed them separately. Originally, I had the skirt gathered at the waist…

… but I wasn’t totally sold, so I tore it all to pieces and hacked a bunch of fabric off the outside edge. Now it’s like an a-line with some subtle gathers. Voila!

lace dress and q lace dress

Because I cut this before fixing my previous neckline fitting issue (I know, I know), I had to insert some extra darts that come in just to the side of the straps, but I’m really happy with how it turned out. SUPER cute… agreed?

I’m a little careful to wear it with casual/colourful accessories to downplay a possible wedding-dress look, I think I’m being successful so far.

lace dress

catchups

A year between posts is *totally* reasonable… (let’s try this again).

I’ve been doing more sewing than anything else, but there’s been zero photography and documentation. It’s probably about time for that to change – camera, timer, here I come.

I’ve just put a few projects up over at Kollabora… I signed up when it first started but haven’t really been using it. It seems like there’s a good little community getting going though, and I like that there’s some variety in the kind of things that people post.

I’m still hosting semi-regular make + do afternoons, but at a slightly less frenetic pace than last year. At the last one I had a crack at this cuff tutorial from the Purl Bee, and I’m pleased to say that (on the second try) it turned out brilliantly. Here are some instagram snapees..

cuff

cuff2

The other thing I have been (slowly) working on is my Archer shirt.  I started it at a make + do afternoon months ago and only recently finished it on a trip to fetch the dog from holidays with my mum. I don’t really think of my sewing machine as portable, but it was actually really easy to pack up everything I needed, and I got this pretty much finished while I was away. More sewing holidays might await…

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Anyway, look, this thing is my favourite. I’m sooooo proud of it, it’s a beautiful pattern and the sewalong makes it really straightforward to put together. The fabric is a silk print from The Fabric Store, with a teensy bit of stretch (the walking foot for my sewing machine helped a great deal while putting this together).  I had to narrow the shoulders a little, and I forgot to put the pockets on (I’ve decided I’m happy without them now), but otherwise, no drastic changes :o).

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I’m definitely going to make more of these. Probably in a cream silk or cotton next, which I think will be a serious workhorse in my wardrobe.

Finally, my puppy is home after a rather long ‘holiday’ with my mum, and I’m excited about it, so here’s some puppy in an adorable jacket we got him in Japan last year…

Q in jacket

Loads more projects to cover, but that’s enough for now. ciao!

seven

Make + Do June was lovely – a relaxed afternoon with knitting, calligraphy, embroidery and beer!

Great green! (re)learning to knit is easier when there is tasty cheese to eat (fact).

Calligraphy = tricky and time consuming (or so I can gather from the painstaking practice going on here). It looks magic though.

yes, that is a different set of hands, which means TWO calligraphy apprentices. I might have to request an illuminated book, that’ll keep them busy.

…aaaand, embroidered cushion covers! I should have got a photo of the actual pattern, but instead you just get this action shot. Action shots all round for this month. I would like to give this a go. Embroidery scares me for no good reason (I think I’m self-conscious about my hand-stitching abilities?)

I continued working on my knitted scarf (no, it’s still not finished. I might miss this winter and aim for the next one?), and then got bored and started sewing a singlet top, which I did finish but haven’t taken good photos of yet. Likely story.

I’m also trying to make something out of some lace curtain fabric I bought from reverse garbage a while ago (total bargain) – here’s a sneak peek of underlining the bodice:

I changed my mind about the skirt and pulled it to pieces mid-construction, so hopefully all is not lost.

Next Make + Do is on July 21…  time marches on far too quickly. I’m thinking about doing some printing or dyeing next time around – time to get my hands dirty!

five

Well, April make + do did indeed happen, albeit slowly, quietly, and with a brief voting interlude. Brad may have had a little nap, but he’s forgiven – it was definitely nap weather!

Brendan did some drawing… (look, the ring I made him is being worn!)

And then, after we did a voting + coffee run, he made these critters:

Finally, in preparation for stop motion month in May (hint hint, put the 19th aside!), some animated gifs (can you spot napping-Brad?)

You’ll notice that I look suspiciously like I am *not* building a marble run. I got caught up in sewing, and given it was such a quiet, rainy afternoon, I thought I’d just continue with that, and leave the marble run for a bit more of an energetic, social day. I do have an impressive collection of cardboard and toilet rolls ready to go though, so don’t fear, it will happen :o).

Want to see what that fabric I’m smoothing out turned in to? Prepare: sewing details ahead…

A simple singlet top made from a lovely soft blue cotton voile. It’s a little unironed (sorry mum!), and is suspiciously similar to this top, but the pattern is actually from Salme Patterns. I have a couple more of these patterns to try – not only do they look good, but I think they will get a lot of wear. I feel like the ‘everyday wear’ patterns from the big companies really leave a fair bit to be desired. Anyway, I’ll let you know how I go with these. The first one’s a success.

I also put this top together on Saturday morning (I know, super productive!):

I finally discovered that the complicated-looking walking foot that came with my sewing machine is a great thing to use when attempting to sew knit fabrics (yes, I am definitely still learning), so I finally found the courage to tackle a knit top. It’s still a *little* wavy along the neckline, but I think I did pretty well overall! Knits might have other challenges, but omg, not having to fit the damn thing is like, the best thing ever. The pattern is a burdastyle pattern, and the fabric is a wool/tencel blend that I got half-price in The Fabric Store‘s sale earlier in the year. It’s the comfiest thing ever, I think I’ve already worn it like, three times since Saturday.

So that’s the haps in our world, and I’ll add a date claimer for NEXT MONTH’s make + do:

Mood: non-sleepy

Date: May 19th

Theme: Stop Motion!

I’ll post more details before then, but I’m planning to set up a few different stations for people to play around with, I think it’ll be really fun!

And finally, the little one is not back yet, so here’s a Brendan-created substitute…

sunday park times

we did what lots of brisbanites seem to do on a Sunday afternoon, and collapsed on the grass at New Farm park, dog in tow. I finished a simple singlet top earlier in the day, so you can see me giving it a trial run this afternoon whilst attempting to wear out the dog… seriously. look at him go!

It’s not from a pattern, I copied a singlet top I already owned, and the fabric is a medium weight Ikea cotton (yes, more Ikea fabric). It’s super-simple: just a front and back piece, with six 1-inch pleats in the front. The main fabric pieces are finished and then joined by bias binding straps, which I made from leftover fabric.  I’ll definitely make up a few more of these. They’re so easy to put together, and if there’s one thing you need in Brisbane, it’s cool cotton tops.

Anyway, the park was lovely, and we got to watch some helium balloons disappear in to the sky…

Hope you had a cracker of a weekend!