I made a playsuit and I’m ready to play…

Yes, it’s been a while. I have been making but not writing and not photographing!

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This is my latest, By Hand London Holly. There was so much to love about the pattern when it was released:

  • 1 piece (so you don’t have do decide on a matching top for your bottom)
  • Button front (to feed a ravenous baby on-the-go)
  • And it’s fricken shorts! (so certain fat thighs don’t rub together in the ridiculousness that is summer in Brisbane)

Winner winner chicken dinner!

I made the size 10 top, graduating down to a 14 hip.  The BHL Ladies did a wonderful sewalong with great tutorials on pattern alteration. I really should have done the “fat arse alteration” but decided that I was too lazy  the fabric I was using had a lot of stretch in it so didn’t need it.  It’s just a little uncomfortable in the crotch area, no camel toe but no comfy pjs either. If aforementioned ravenous baby keeps up the all night, all you can eat milk buffet, the fat arse might just sort itself out.

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I added the pockets from my Cambie dress onto the shorts. I have 2 little boys. I need pockets for carrying all manner of racing cars, tissues, chocolate bribes, a piece of a toy that boy 1 has stolen souveniered from kindy, random “special” rocks that we found at the creek. All at the same time.

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I’m not sure I could pull off the cowl neck variation of the pattern, even though my mum brought back some fabulous silk from Sri Lanka that would suit it perfectly.  She’s a keeper. I’ll definitely make another playsuit in a plainer fabric and perhaps some of the wide leg trousers for work.

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Thanks BHL for another fab pattern.  I really will have to get around to blogging about the 3 Victoria blazers that I made!

(This has driven me) Mad Men Challenge Dress

I haven’t posted anything in a while.  I was making something WAY better than a new frock:

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This little guy!  He was born on Saturday 25 January just before sunrise.

I sewed a few maternity things but they were either so boring or so ugly that I’m fairly sure you don’t want to see them.

What better way to get my Sewjo back than the third Mad Men Challenge over at Julia Bobbin.  Well, this just about killed me.

As much as I love my Mad Men Challenge 2 dress, I have only worn it a couple of times as it’s so dressy.  This time I wanted something that I might actually wear and create a dress that I could still feed a ravenous baby in.  More on that later..  I attempted this Betty Draper dress and cute Bobby Draper outfit from season 3:

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This is one of Betty’s few maternity dresses that doesn’t look like a sack.

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I started with Colette’s Peony.  After some success with other Colette patterns, thought this one would be fine. I made a muslin based on my envelope size and it was enormous.  I had either measured wrong (a definite possibility), I had lost 15 kilos in between measuring and completing the muslin (definitely not possible) or the pattern was a bit hinky (maybe but highly unlikely).  Further reading here and here made me realise I wasn’t the only one.  The back bodice was so big I could have given the Hunchback of Notre Dame a piggy back and still had room back there.

I knew I had to persist as I really wanted a dress block that I could make multiple from.  Muslin number 2 was slightly better.  Wearable but still not great or very flattering.  Third attempt is a good fit I think.  I won’t go into the changes I made to the pattern, so many I’m not even sure you could call it a Peony anymore.  Now that I have my dress block I’m so over it I’m not sure I want to make another one!

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I put invisible zips along the front to allow easy access to the milk bar when out and about 🙂  The fabric is a seersucker that I was amazed to find at Spotlight and the trim is from etsy shop KnickKnackNook.

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I roped by little boy in this year with some shorts and a shirt that I drafted from one of his existing outfits.  So cute.

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The dress definitely needs a belt to cover the not-so-invisible zips but I haven’t had time for that yet.  What do you guys think, a self fabric belt or a contrasting?  I can’t decide.

 

Take 2 Tiramisu

Blue Tiramisu

This was my second attempt at Cake’s Tiramisu. The first time I made it, I found it very low in the cleavage (take a look here). Not necessarily the pattern‘s fault, my short chest and prudishness are also to blame. I was hoping that second time around I could pull the two bodice pieces a little further across the bust to solve this problem but alas the stretchier fabric seemed to make it worse this time.

Stretching Bodice

Cake have since released an bodice piece errata for the for the 30-35 bust range after seeing reviews around the web. Isn’t that lovely! Can’t imagine any of the “Big 4” doing this for us- “Oh, your pattern make looks shite and you can’t alter it? Oh too bad, you must have cut the wrong size or just be really bad at sewing (even though we add enough ease into a pattern so it could fit someone 4 sizes bigger than you…)”

Blue Tiramisu

I was thinking after this second attempt that I wouldn’t make this pattern for myself again, but will definitely do take 3 with my new bodice pieces and perhaps go up a size too.

Don’t get me wrong, I wore this dress heaps until I needed to start rugging up a bit more, it’s just a bit annoying / I’m a bit lazy to have to find a crop or singlet to go underneath. And sometimes in the heat you really don’t want that extra layer. Saw an ad for a small rectangle of fabric that you clip to your bra strap to cover low cut areas. Any feedback? Seems like a bit of a hassle to me…

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Anyway, enough about my cleavage. Do you like the fabric? Sorry it’s a bit sea sick inducing in the large photos!  I love the colour and the stripes but there is more than a hint of polyester in it (definitely not my usual choice but it was 40% off…) it has a great stretch across the grain but virtually no stretch the other way so previously applied arm bands cut on the straight grain needed to be removed as they were a little small and I was tourniqueting my upper arms when I stretched. Not ideal. I cut the arms slightly longer than the pattern as I am a little self conscious about said upper arms and feel a lot more comfortable with them covered. I’m happy with them longer.

Stripe Matching

I have always been a little scared of sewing with small stripes as my Virgo eyes feel an overwhelming need for them to match up perfectly. Not perfect along the shoulder seam but check out the front seam stripe matching. Oh yeah!

I will definitely get loads of wear out of this one over the summer holidays. If you haven’t attempted a cake pattern yet, give them a go! The amount of support / tutorials / love that comes with your pattern is worth so much.

Have a good week everyone!

I had a little victory

ImageIt’s entirely possible that I love this skirt more than cheese.

My first attempt at Victory Patterns and I’m every so happy.

This one is Madeleine, a full circle skirt with oversized pockets and topstitching detail in contrasting thread and as if that wasn’t cute enough, suspenders for you to hook your thumbs around and go all Charlie Chaplin (sorry no photo of me doing that but be sure it did happen after a few too many wines that night)

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 I fell in love with the picture on the pattern site and decided to make one exactly the same. The fabric is a medium weight dark denim (just from Spotlight).  I used yellow topstitching thread, my first experience with this type of thread.  Man did I plough through some of that! I went through 3 of the 30m spools, and that was without any unpicking.  I love the definition that the thicker thread gives, and in any case I knew that regular thread wasn’t going to chew through the denim without a fight.

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The lining is 70s brown, orange and pink cotton scrap I had been holding onto for a while.  Not enough to make anything, but I liked it too much to bin it.  I’m so glad it found a nice home.

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I will definitely make this one again – maybe a casual one in a lighter fabric and maybe a more dressy one for work in a lightweight wool.

Oh, and the magnificent peacocks I have on my feet are from Mollini and scarf is from Lafayette Collection on to a recent trip to the Paris Soldes. I keep wearing it and trying to imagine I’m back there….

Blueberry Tiramisu

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Don’t worry I haven’t gone completely bananas. Pavlova and tiramisu was a seriously wonderful mix. Blueberries and Tiramisu would just be wrong.

This is my first (wearable muslin) Tiramisu from Cake Patterns. I am in love with these patterns. Although you pretty much had me at Cake…

I took a couple of classes with Steph (Cake Creator) last year and learnt more about dressmaking in a few hours with her than I have during my other 30 something years. So you can imagine how excited I was when Steph announced her own pattern line.

This was such an easy cut and make and I love it. The pattern is supposed to yield a “no-gape” neckline but I always have problems with that (short distance from shoulder to bust) and unfortunately this one is no different. I quite like the little bit of white at the neckline though. It brightens it up a bit.

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I’m also not that excited about the pockets. I completely forgot to under stitch (need to go back and do that…) so they stick out a bit in this fabric. And Lord knows, I don’t need extra bulk around the hips!

Will definitely make this again.

Do you like the fig drawing in the first picture? My mum did it! How clever is she?

Joan’s Addiction

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My sewing skills are pretty slap dash at the best of times. Not marking notches, estimating dart dimensions because I have marked them wrong, adding zippers and waistbands before I have tried things on etc etc. Lots of silly mistakes that I believe at that moment will save me a few seconds. “A stitch in time saves nine Katharine” echoes my late Grandmother’s voice through my sewing room, taunting me for my idiocy as the quick unpick goes through another incorrect seam.

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This project was different. I was totally and utterly addicted to getting this one right. Joan’s Addiction.  Perhaps a concern for disrespecting Janie Bryant, the Mad Men costume designer, maybe a desire to not piss Joan off, or maybe (although I doubt it) I have turned a new leaf.

Joan's Wave Dress

This dress is based on Joan’s Wave dress from season 4. I must admit I haven’t watched nearly as much Mad Men as I would like but a recent long haul flight with very poor movie options helped me to catch up a bit.

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The base pattern I used was Burda 7137. Man I hate Burda patterns and this one was no different. I hate Burda Style even more. No seam allowance? WTF? Do they deliberately do that to make us fail? The pattern required SO much alteration to turn it from hideous sack to dress.

The fabric was an end of bolt special I got at Reverse Garbage in Sydney for $5.00. It seriously came down to the last scrap trying to make this pattern fit. Managed to stay true to the grain… Mostly…

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The collar front is made from three circles sewn together. The arm ruffles are a seam free circle. I’m not convinced I like them, they are a bit like witches hats. I can be a bit of a witch sometimes so maybe that’s appropriate!

Had heaps of fun on this one and learned so much. Hope you all enjoyed your Mad Men Challenge too. Thanks Julia!

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Oh to be Joan for a day. Or even to have Joan’s bust measurement for a day!

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Pavamisu

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Or perhaps Tiralova…

We had some very lovely friends over for lunch on Easter Sunday and what better to make for dessert than an egg based one?

I came up with this recipe fusion thanks to Cake Patterns (will blog about that soon!) and a shedload of egg whites in my freezer.  I can’t actually remember what I have been using all the egg yolks for though….

The pavlova part of the recipe is a Katie Quinn Davies from the latest Delicious Magazine.

Recipe follows:

Pavamisu

1 tbs cocoa powder (plus extra to sprinkle)

1 tsp cornflour

1 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp mixed spice 

100 dark chocolate (very finely chopped)

9 eggwhites

440g caster sugar

1 tsp white vinegar

600ml whipping cream (substitute mascarpone for some of the cream for a more authentic Italian taste)

Kahlua (don’t be shy)

1/2 tbsp Instant coffee (the finer the better, usually the really cheap brands are more powdery)

1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.  Line 3 baking trays with baking paper and draw an 18cm circle on each sheet.  

Sift cocoa, cornflour, cream of tartar and cinnamon into a small bowl, add the chocolate and stir to combine.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggwhites until frothy. With motor running, slowly add the sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, whisking constantly and allowing each spoonful to be incorporated before adding the next, until stiff and glossy.

Fold in vinegar and chocolate mixture.

Divide meringue among the trays and spread to cover the circles, smoothing as much as possible.

Bake for 5 minutes, then reduce oven to 150 degrees and bake for a further 1 hour 10 minutes.  Turn off the oven and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven.

For the coffee cream – whip cream (or mascarpone and cream) until a good spreading consistency.  Dissolve coffee in kahlua and add with vanilla to cream.

Spread coffee cream on each layer and on top of pavlova and sprinkle with cocoa.

Decorate with shaved dark chocolate if desired.

 

My little chickens are made from some fondant icing, nests are dark chocolate piped over an upside down lid covered with cling film and filled with easter eggs.

Happy Easter all!

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The Brownie Economy

My husband had to borrow a ute from a friend yesterday to pick up our new BBQ. He asked me if there was something that I could bake as a thank you because “he doesn’t really drink”. The man owns a ute, but doesn’t drink. I love when people defy stereotypes.

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Have you seen the TV commercials for the beer economy? Help out a mate do something – that’s worth 2 cases of beer etc… Well I seem to have my own little chocolate brownie economy.

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I hope he liked them!