Thursday, September 27, 2012

More Sewing Plans for Summer (or the value of teaching your child to budget)

Yesterday, I had the glorious experience of shopping for my daughter's summer wardrobe.

In preparation for this expedition, on Tuesday, we dragged out all her summer clothes that had been stashed in various locations around the house for the cool period we get in Queensland. A mammoth trying-on followed, accompanied by moans and groans and exclamations of boredom. My daughter handled it really well, though! ;-)

It seemed as though she had grown out of nearly everything she owned. Great.

Anyway, in the interests of teaching her how to cultivate a workable, affordable wardrobe, we made a list of what she had and what she needed for the summer ahead (which, just quietly, seems to have arrived here already).

We also perused the fabric stash, and went through the pattern collection..just to get an idea of what she liked and what was possible with no expense.

Armed with our information, we braved the shops. She was SO EXCITED ... for about 30 minutes. Then it became a drag. I set her a budget of $200 to cover everything she needed - tops, shorts, skirts, swimsuits, rash shirts, PJs, shoes, accessories...everything. We talked about how to get the best value for your money and how budgeting is not evil. If you manage your money wisely, you can have the things you want guilt free. How good is that? I also may have mentioned that items sewn by Mum from stash were free. Any fabric purchased would have to come from her budget, but labour would be paid for with love (and cups of coffee!). She seemed to think that was a good deal. Not bad for a 9 year old.

In the end, she handled the whole experience admirably well. She concentrated on looking for things she knew I couldn't really replicate (things with prints and foil transfers, etc) and ended up with enough money to buy her ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE DRESS EVER from Pumpkin Patch (which I didn't have the heart to tell her I could make for a lot less - it's pretty simple). She was happy and so was I. That, my friends, is a great shopping trip.

The.Best.Dress.Ever :-)

Of course, I now have a few more items to add to my summer sewing list. But, on the upside, I get all my coffees made for me for the next week and a bit while we're on school holidays.

Just so I don't forget what I've promised to make, here's a list:
  • Black sequin circle skirt
  • Several sets of summer pyjamas
  • 3 or 4 swimsuits (we have a pool)
  • 1 maxi dress
  • Black drapey bolero (based on the hot pink one she already owns)
  • 2 everyday skirts
  • 1 dressier skirt (glittery denim)
  • 2 everyday shorts
  • Black capris/long shorts
I'm fairly certain that I have the fabric to sew a few things from this list, otherwise there'll be a quick trip to The Fabric Store in my future.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Green Silk Dress - Done and Dusted

Well, finally the wedding day has been and gone. I'm happy to say the dress got finished on time and there were no wardrobe malfunctions. Yay!

First up, here are the pictures...

And some stats:

Pattern: Burda WOF 12-2008-136B
Fabrics: Green/black shot silk and black silk organza for underlining (from The Fabric Store in Brisbane), Black sheer nylon/velvet overlay (from Lincraft many years ago).

I had been eyeing off this pattern for quite some time. I really liked the overall shape and the idea of the split overlay. It looked really elegant in the magazine.

Pattern alterations/Design Changes:

First, I (with the help of my sewing teacher) tissue fitted the pattern to my body. This particular pattern allows for a smaller waist and curvy hips - the total opposite of my body. I didn't want anything really tight, so we ended up adding a fair bit to the front skirt section and straightening out the side seams to create more of an a-line shape.

I also had to do a full bicep adjustment for the sleeves and I ended up lengthening them a little. The rest of the pattern worked fine for me.

Before cutting into the silk, I made a test version of this dress in a chocolate brown linen (I'll post pics of that one when I've completely finished it). Obviously this was without the overlay, but gave me a good idea of the overall shape and pattern alterations needed. I ended up taking out a fair bit of the extra room we added in.

Construction notes:

Putting together the linen version was fairly straight forward. I learned how to insert an invisible zip across a seam so that it all lined up perfectly. I also learned how to trace out my seam lines so that I could see where I made fitting changes, making it easy to transfer those to my pattern. I bound the seams in this version with a lightweight poly-cotton.

It was when I changed to the silk version of this dress that my nightmares began. If I'd known before I started just how tricky this dress was going to be, I would never have started. Granted I learnt a LOT while sewing this dress, but I'm the queen of simple and easy. I'm really happy to stay in my comfort zone and have no need to push myself to learn new things just for the sake of it. I felt as though this dress looked WAY too simple for the effort and time that went into it. I won't be making it again. I may make a dress using the pattern, but the layered look won't ever cross my machine again. The worst part was that point in the centre front where you had multiple seams and layers all needing to meet in a perfect point. I'm just too slap happy to end up with a perfect result, but it was really important this time. Just that tiny bit took me several days to finish. I think I must have unpicked it at least a dozen times. In the end, I was happy with it, but we ended up adding a simple bow anyway!

Finally, here's a photo of the flowergirl dresses in action...infinitely cuter than mine ;-)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Just a quick update

There is just over a week until my brother and his fiance get married. Fortunately, my daughter's flowergirl dress is finished (insert happy dance emoticon here!), her shoes are purchased and I've booked a mani/pedi for her with one of my friends who is a beauty therapist. So she's happy...

We took some preliminary shots this morning, just to make sure everything is how it is meant to be.

The ankle bracelets are going before the big day!

She feels pretty special. These are her first pair of 'heels'. We have plans to practise walking in them this week.

The dress for my niece has been received and deemed appropriate! Yippee! (And, it seems I've been a bit remiss, counting my niece's dress in my 50 Projects tally. What was I thinking? The fabric for these 2 dresses didn't come from stash, so I'll have to go back and change that.)

So the only thing that needs to be done is my dress. Contrary to all accounts, there IS progress being made. Just today I trimmed up the side seam allowances and neatened them. Up until this dress, I think I'd been taking my overlocker for granted. It's so time consuming when you can't serge seam allowances!

I've still got a fair bit to do, but I'm quietly confident that it will get done in time. After all, it's actually looking a bit like a dress now, rather than chunks of fabric.