Monday, 25 June 2012

Open your eyes and look at the day, You'll see things in a different way.

I figure its only a matter of time before I win lotto - sure the odds of me flying solo to the moon and back in a Chanel couture spacesuit might be just slightly more favourable, but I need that little glimmer of hope that the 1 in 100 million chance provides in distracting me from the current state of my working life!  We are currently in the process of commissioning a new stage of alumina production at our refinery which is both exciting, demanding and stressfull all roled up into one super cramped shoulder muscle.  Chocolate consumption in the Capricorn region has increased exponentially in response.

Fortunately I got in some really good sewing weekends the past couple of weeks as I finished Pennys Bridle birthday collection and just last week sent off Audreys bundle of homemade goodies for her 2nd birthday.  Auspicious as it may be, this months competition at patternreview lined up perfectly with the birthday month and I was excited to be able to stretch those creative muscles to try and enter the competition. 

Simple enough brief: one pattern, many ways.   Of course I had the perfect pattern New Look 6578 - the toddler pinafore dress.

 This was the first toddler pattern that I attempted and I loved it: it has everything for the beginner sewer - seams you can practice your french seaming, button hole making, curved stitching, facing, hemming and the end result is a very practical pinafore dress.  This dress has lots of potential to be done in multiple fabric types and with its simple lines you can go all crazy like with the trimming and decorations.  

The first dress of the production line was Pennys butterfly dress.  You may recongnise the fabric print as being similar to the first one I made.  My favourite online Aussie fabric store WrappedinFabric had a sale a while back and this Just Wing It print by Momo for Moda in tomato was ripe for the picking.  I love the corduroy effect the print lines gives and the butterflies just pop out.  Nothing fancy with this dress, the fabric speaks for itself. I used some of my cotton fabric stash for the facing so it only required 1/2 meter of the 'spensive fabric (size 2).

The second dress was part of Audreys collection of 3 for her birthday present.  After the corduroy effect of the first dress I decided that actual corduroy would be a perfect choice for this dress.  A slightly warmer outfit that can be worn layered over a top.  I found this floral corduroy at and added pockets in a matching solid blue corduroy.  Then to prove I am not scared of trimming - I found a white flower trim from Lincraft and applied to the pockets.  I loved the buttons that have a beautiful sparkle to them.   Again a cotton from my stash sufficed as the facing which helped keep the bulk of the garment down.

The third dress was my attempt at a winter weight version of the dress.  I found a scottish plaid twill cotton at Lincraft and while it was the most expensive fabric of the lot I knew it was the look I was after.  I took a risk with this dress as a previous reviewer of the pattern had mentioned that she had just used bias binding rather than the facing.  I ended up using a satin ribbon bias binding.....BIG MISTAKE!  Its not awful but I realise just how much structure that facing gives to the button area and to the shoulder pieces.  I ended up putting some interfacing around the button hole area so it didn't disintegrate when I sewed it.  The final piece to the outfit was to add some trimming to the hemline - after my last experience I have gained some confidence in the area of trimmifying a garment. While it took me over an hour in Lincraft to decide on the 'perfect' trim, a pretty white lace, I am very happy with the end result

The fourth dress I used a cotton lawn that was on special from Spotlight.  Rather then adding trim to this dress I decided this one would be great to try out some shirring on.  While my machine huffed and puffed trying to sew the elastic in, and while I learnt that just because you tied a double know doesn't mean the elastic is willing to accomodate you and stay knotted - I still managed to lay down 3 rows of shirring about 1/2" apart.  I won't say it was an absolute success and am waiting on the garment to be modelled before I pass final judgement.  Loki 'helped' in the making of this dress.

The final dress I finished yesterday and is for a friends daughter who just turned 3.  I knew I wanted to do a 'sailor' type version of this dress so got a beautiful navy blue cotton from and set about learning how to make my own piping cord.  I found a great blog Sew It Love It that was a big help.  The only thing they failed to mention is just how timeconsuming it is and I found the corners really really tricky.
Piping cord sewn into fabric strip

Yes, that is a lot of pins.  Yes, I ran out of pins.

What felt like 8 hours later, all sewn in.

A couple of tips from making and putting in the piping cord
1.  Ask yourself if you really really want to have piping cord.  You are not a lesser person if you choose not to.
2.  If you do decide to proceed with piping cord - don't be a hero - no one will know if you buy it ready made rather than attempting the torture of making it yourself.
3.  When attaching have lots of pins handy.  When you think you have enough pins...get more.
4.  Mark your seams clearly on both sides of the fabric so you can line up the piping cord where it needs to go.
5.  When you sew your cord to the garment, sew inside the stitching line on the piping cord so you don't expose the stiching when you turn it out.

To finish the garment I knew I wanted a row of buttons but apparently there is a dire shortage of white buttons in the Gladstone region as I could only find 4 white matching buttons.  I added in a couple of ribbon strips to the waistline and what the heck, lets throw in a bit of lace trimming for the hem (think they are supposed to be flowers but I am claiming then as boat steering wheels!).  End result is a Sammy's Sort of Sailor Dress.

5 dresses, One pattern.  Was a great couple of weeks and suprisingly I am not sick of this pattern.  I can see a lot of other versions of this dress coming up.  Even more suprising is I am not as scared of 'trimming' a garment as I was going into this.  OK, yes the thought of having to go into the trim aisle at Lincraft still sends me running for the chocolate we will take it slow with the trimmifying for now!

Is going to be a couple of sewless weeknds for me while I go off and make alumina but hopefully will have some photos to show of said nieces in outfits in next blog post.

Title ref:  Don't Stop, by: Christine McView


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