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Black Miette

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All winter I kept thinking that I needed a black cardigan to throw over whatever I was wearing when the weather was cold and I was inside and therefore a coat wouldn’t do the job. Enter my third Miette – in black Alpaca with a touch of merino. I should say here that I didn’t want to knit another Miette, I wanted a regular sort of a cardigan, but couldn’t find a pattern that used the small amount of yarn I had in my stash.

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Because the yarn I chose was double knit and this is supposed to be knitted from worsted, I added a strand of laceweight cashmere and then went up a size. I think I have overdone the sizing – it’s pretty roomy for a negative ease, cropped cardigan! I don’t mind the size so much as the low neckline. This might be problematic in the winter, but I just can’t unravel it all, and I figured I could cover up the neckline with a scarf.

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I finished this quite recently, after summer had hit, so the first cool, dull day, and I was in it to take photographs. By the end of this session, which was before 6am, I was too warm and took it off, so I can’t tell you how it stands up to a day’s wear – although my skirt looks as though I slept in it!

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I added a couple of extra inches to the length and made the sleeves full length to make it more winter appropriate. I do love this pattern, but may not use it again for a while.

I fussed around with the buttons. Black ones just got lost, so I found these rather gorgeous ones in my stash. They are fairly plain on the front (the one on the left), but the backs are all different and seem to have a myriad of colours. I naturally chose to use them the wrong way round!

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The details: Pattern is the Miette by Andi Satturlund, wool is Alpaca/merino blend from the Australian Alpaca Barn in Nurses Walk in The Rocks, Sydney. Skirt is Champagne and blouse is the Bellina, both from Capital Chic Patterns. Shoes are by Jeffrey Campbell from Zomp, Claremont.

1970s jumpsuit

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I’m not sure what I was thinking when I embarked on this project. My friend Thelma has long said that I should make myself a jumpsuit, and once the idea was sown, it was sewn – pun intended :).

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The pattern is Simplicity 6959 from 1975. There were a number of things I quite liked about this pattern – the kimono style sleeves, the apparent simplicity, the pockets and the width of the legs. I did not like the big collar, however, so that had to go.

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I wasn’t too certain of the sizing so decided to make a muslin. This pattern is cut in one length and has four full length pieces each side, so it takes a fair bit of fabric. I decided to use a sheet that I had squirrelled into my stash when we replaced all our bedding. Once I had cut it out I could see that the crotch would be near my knees, so felt a certain smugness regarding the muslin. I dutifully sewed it together, and did I say that I liked the width of the legs? They are so wide that I actually look as though I am wearing a skirt.

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Strangely, the body length is almost correct when I’m wearing it. It’s a tad long, but I think it needs to be so that one can sit down without getting a giant wedgie.

Being on the stumpy side, I didn’t shorten the jumpsuit legs as I had intended in an attempt to give myself an elongated appearance. Back in the ’70s we would have had those legs going right to the floor so that our shoes couldn’t be seen.

When Mark saw my outfit, he thought it might be a really nice thing to wear camping. Camping?? Camping??? I have to wear high heels because of the length of the legs and all that white in the bush? I did have a little chuckle to myself. He can be so sweet.

I do feel a bit as though I have been caught in a giant snowdrift. This is a lot of white. I know it’s a muslin, but I can’t bear to waste fabric and this was a 1200 thread Sheridan sheet, which we actually never used, so I am going to attempt to wear it. I considered dying it, but then it would look like a dyed sheet. I have some self striped shirting in my stash that looks like this, so I’m going to wear this jumpsuit somewhere and brazen it out.

photographic evidence of my lack of womanly curves!

photographic evidence of my lack of womanly curves!

I reduced the size of the collar, but went too far at the back, so it actually just stands up on its own. In the photos I tried to fold it down, but it sprang back up and I’ve decided that I quite like it. If I make this again, I will redraft the collar piece.

I took the sides in quite a bit to make it fit better in the hip region, but it still feels a tad baggy.

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I was intending to make the actual jumpsuit from a lovely drapey viscose, but I am not sure. The wide legs seem to be in the shops at the moment, and I think a softer fabric would really improve the look. Something that doesn’t look like a sheet might also help! Maybe after Christmas I’ll have another go.

I left the pockets off this version as I was just practicing, but my hands look for them, so will definitely include some sort of pocket if I do it again. I’m glad I made the muslin as I followed the construction method recommended and was quite surprised how it is put together. One collar goes on the jumpsuit and the other collar goes on the facings and then they are all joined together. This gives a really neat finish.

I’ve tried to see what other people have done with this pattern, but, whilst there are quite a few patterns for sale, not many people have blogged their makes, so here is a quick review:

Simplicity 6959: a simple to sew wide length jumpsuit in two lengths. The jumpsuit has princess seaming, front zipper, V neck with collar and short kimono type sleeves. The long version has patch pockets and a self fabric belt. There is considerable top stitching, which I didn’t do.

The pattern is simple to make and I have already referred to the fact that the construction of the collar is slightly different from the way I would have done it. The legs are very wide but could probably be slimmed down.

The details: Pattern is Simplicity 6959 from 1975. Fabric is a sheet, belt is Leona Edmiston, shoes are Letizia from Letizia, Claremont.

Festive dress

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I decided I needed a casual sort of dress for the variety of Christmas lunches I am going to eat my way through. I thought it should be light in case it’s hot, and loose enough to accommodate post Christmas lunch podge.

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I opted for the DVF Vogue 1547 in some red bamboo jersey which has been lingering in my stash for around eighteen months.

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Having made this pattern before, I was confident that all I had to do was to shorten it a little and the rest would fit pretty well. [later update: I forgot to mention both times I’ve blogged this dress that the pattern has a zip – a zip on a knit dress! Needless to say I jettisoned this and it so obviously doesn’t need one that I completely forgot that it is supposed to have one – I mention it here in case anyone else makes the dress and finds this post]

When I put the folded over fabric on the cutting board I could clearly see right the way through it and so I underlined it with a fine cotton knit from Potters Textiles. This makes the dress surprisingly heavy, and possibly not as cool as it might have been had I left out the underlining, but I do like the comfortable, luxurious feel that underlining gives.  However, it added to my making difficulties as the dress uses a fair bit of fabric and I was manipulating two lots with different stretch qualities whilst trying to make sure that the hang was right.

Once again I inserted pockets, but this time added them from the outset. The red fabric is so flimsy that I struggled to get them to sit flat and don’t think they are my best ever pockets.

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My only other issue was the hem. I let the dress hang for a week so that it would drop, given that a lot of it is cut on the bias. I then decided that I would cut the underlining to the fold of the hem to reduce the bulk and then coverstitched as the blind hemming produced a poor finish. All this worked well until I laundered the dress and then it became obvious that the red fabric stretched out a bit, whereas the underlining didn’t move, meaning that the hem went very peculiar. I considered removing the coverstitching, but opted to cut the underlining away from the hem and this has worked. I’m still not happy with the hem though and may unpick it. I also think I made the dress too short this time – doh!

The pattern has a self tie, which I made for the first version of this dress, but decided it was too narrow. For this dress I made it again but this time a little wider than the pattern. I like this better but still feel like a sack tied in the middle so have opted for a belt that my Mother-in-law gave me, which matches the dress perfectly. How clever is she??

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Bottom line? This will be my go-to dress this summer and yes, I may even wear it on Christmas Day as it is the perfect dress for floating around in whilst eating Christmas delicacies.

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I happened to wear this dress to our staff lunch and had to play Santa for the Secret Santa gifts. With the red outfit all I was missing was the beard and the boots…

The details: pattern is Diane von Furstenberg knit dress from the 1970s – Vogue 1547. Fabric is red bamboo jersey from Clegs in Melbourne, underlined with taupe cotton knit from Potters Textiles. Belt is stretchy beads with a wooden buckle, necklace is vintage from Paris, and shoes are Neo from Zomp.

Sewing for a cause: evening collection

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Having made a host of daytime bags for my nominated charities, I thought the time had come to make an evening collection. I fossicked through my stash for some eveningy fabric and Gabi donated two Hermes scarves for the linings – gasp.

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I think by the time I took this photo one had been sold, but you can get a pretty good idea of how they look and how well Gabi has styled them on the shelf

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In addition to the ones in the shop I’ve made a few for the family. Some of the fabric I bought at the local church fete – I managed to buy quite a bit of silk taffeta in purple and gold for $5, which is a bargain. I didn’t know what I was going to do with it when I bought it, I was simply drawn to the colours. Now I wish I’d bought more. Gabi also gave me a dress to shorten and I used the section which I cut off, which is a beautiful midnight blue silk.

The whole display is beginning to look really good. Gabi managed to sell 4 of the bags in a week, which apparently is pretty good going, but I would prefer to have sold all of them :).  Anyway, I have my first donation organised now.

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1970s mashup

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This dress is a conglomeration of two patterns from the early ’70s and I thought I would embellish it with a flower as a nod to the era of peace and love. The patterns I used are the bodice from Vogue 8299

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and the skirt from Style 4232 as gathered skirts don’t suit me. At all. I was pretty darned pleased with myself as I had to fit the skirt on to the top. The patterns were vaguely similar in size although I had to grade both down at the top and the bottom but not the middle!

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The neckline on the Vogue pattern is very low so I had the presence of mind to raise the front by 3cms and the back by 2.5cms. However, it is also very wide, and I hadn’t realised this until it was too late. Could I live with it? I decided not, so I put a small pleat in the front and then added the daisy as the previously mentioned acknowledgement of the era.

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This was reasonably successful, but I thought it was still a bit wide in the back.

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Playing about with it at work, one of my colleagues lifted it on the shoulders and all my fit issues miraculously vanished. So I have sorted that now. This did bring the already high bust darts into the ridiculous zone, so they had to be adjusted too. I dropped them by 3cms but think I could have gone more.

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The only other variation is that I underlined the fabric. This is my new favourite thing to do. It gives the fabric body, makes it feel luxurious and wonderful, and means that I am confident that there will be no inadvertent diaphanous areas.

Although this photo doesn’t really show the difference in the back neckline, it feels completely different and very much better.

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The details: Patterns are Vogue 8299 and Style 4232, fabric is green linen from Potters Textiles underlined with white cotton lawn also from Potters Textiles. The belt and both buckles are vintage (1980s) and the necklace in the first version is green glass and gold from the 1950s and in the second it’s venetian glass from the 1960s. The daisy is from a necklace donated to my cause by Gabi at Heaven Wrapped. The shoes are quite modern!

Diane von Furstenberg t-shirt dress

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As part of my vintage pledge I decided to make this 1970s DVF t-shirt dress.

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I wasn’t totally enamoured with this pattern, wondering whether it wasn’t a tad frumpy, and to cement this view I decided to make it out of this fabric, bought at Knitwit for $3 metre.

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I have to say that this fabric is pretty darned ugly. I bought it to use as stretchy muslin fabric, but as I never make muslins it was just hanging around in the stash. Enter my good friend Dylon the dye. I kept reading on the packet that cotton fabric could be done in the front loading washing machine, and I decided to give this a go. First I established that this was a natural fabric using the burn test. Yes, it was – I only discovered later that it is, in fact, viscose. No matter. I threw the dye into the drum of the machine, followed by the salt, followed by the fabric. Off it went on the delicate cycle as I had conniptions over the colour. It was very dark. There is no controlling the colour once it’s in the machine. I decided not to stress, it could go back to being muslin fabric. Next I had to do a normal wash with detergent and then dry it in the shade. I have to say that I am thrilled with the colour. The gaudiness has been toned right down and the fabric is really soft and swishy. Here I am concentrating very hard on doing a swish. Luckily you can’t see me nearly fall over at the end.

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As to the DVF dress, well, I love it. It really is just a simple t-shirt with a full skirt, but its secret seems to be in the shaping on the front and back seams as well as the sides. I didn’t make any changes to it (I forgot to do a sway back adjustment) but did add pockets after I had sewn it up because my hands kept looking for them.

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The obligatory back view

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Basically this is a really easy to make, easy to wear dress. I am going to have a browse in my stash to see if I have other appropriate fabric from which to make another one. It does use a bit of fabric because the skirt is quite wide. I did reduce the length of the skirt which reduced the fabric required, but next time I will take off another three inches. I will also raise the pockets a bit – without the belt I find my arms aren’t long enough to reach them!

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The details: Pattern is Vogue 1547, a Diane von Furstenberg 1970s knit dress. Fabric was bought on sale from Knitwit and dyed indigo blue. Shoes are XSA from Dimantina, Subiaco, necklace is ceramic and bought in Wellington, NZ.

Ginger jeans

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I have jumped on the bandwagon and made the Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Files. I have been exploring jeans patterns over the last couple of years and thought these might be a nice addition to my collection. I’ve also made the other two patterns produced by Heather Lou – the Nettie bodysuit, which I love, and the Bombshell Swimsuit which I also, er, love, so the jeans were an obvious make.

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I knew I needed to make a muslin but didn’t really have stretchy stuff lying about to do this so I just picked some stretch purple denim from my stash and went for it, choosing View A, the low rise stovepipe. I decided on the size 10 grading down to a 4 over the hips, but after darting the yoke and the waistband, and taking in the side seams and finding that they are still a bit loose, my next version is going to be a size 8 down to a 2. My only other decision was the colour of the topstitching thread. Archie suggested cream but I went with my instinct and chose taupe which I think goes well with the purple denim.

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The actual sewing was pretty simple. I followed the sewalong, joining it 10 days late as I had been busy with Archie’s jeans, but I did manage to catch up pretty well. Carolyn mentioned that the fly insertion is the easiest she’s ever done and I concur, although it is very similar to the KwikSew 3504 pattern that I used for Archie’s jeans, so I was most of the way there. The other thing that Carolyn recommends is using upholstery thread for the topstitching and this is way better. It was 30% off in Spotlight too, so I now have a vast supply in my stash :).

As I was making the jeans I was freaking out a bit over choosing the low rise version. However, I am shorter in the crotch than the instructions but didn’t reduce the length of this part, so I think they finished up ok. I might fiddle a bit with this for the next pair. The only other alteration I made was the flat bottom adjustment. I took about a centimetre out of the upper back leg, but could probably do a bit more.

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I did skip ahead a bit on the sewalong and did the back pockets without really thinking about it. After I had sewn them on I read the post – who knew that putting back pockets on jeans has a science of its own? I just whacked mine on, but think I lucked out because the placement feels fine. I did get carried away with the riveting and put them either side of the back pocket, but then didn’t do the front pockets – since remedied.

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I used a piece of home decorating fabric to line my waistband and pockets

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So bottom line on these jeans? Definitely the best pattern I’ve used so far. I still have fitting issues but I expect to resolve most of these the next time I make them. The are comfortable as long as they are held up by a belt, and I think they look better than most of my RTW jeans.

The details: Pattern is Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans, fabric is purple stretch denim from Knitwit. Top is Ivy Knit Top from StyleArc patterns, shoes are Reiker and the necklace came from Heaven Wrapped.

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